Business Sustainability: Different Goals for Different Roles

Jul 20, 2010   //   by Colin Manuel   //   Leadership, Marketing & Communication, Operations Management  //  No Comments

5 Ways to Explain Sustainability to 5 PeopleWhat was your reaction when you first heard about sustainability? Did you think the fuzzy, tree-hugging character would never fly in the corporate sphere? Much of the business world still thinks this way. People in every department are still waiting for their sustainability epiphany. But that epiphany won’t come unless the message is tailored to their goals.

5 Ways to Explain Sustainability to 5 people

Everyone is unique. But as different as each of us may be, we still tend to find like-minded people across various business functions. By tailoring your approach to individual goals, you can build a cross-functional sustainability team that has the power to drive real change.


  • Professional Goal: Make your brand remarkable.
  • Approach: Pitch sustainability as a unique story that can differentiate products and services on an emotional level.
  • Resource: Sustainability as a Brand (Video)




  • Professional Goal: Instill production line with efficiency and quality.
  • Approach: Position sustainability as a way to benchmark supply chain performance, increase quality and reduce risks.
  • Resource: The Sustainable Supply Chain (PDF)


  • Professional Goal: Compete at a top level and leave a lasting legacy.
  • Approach: Present sustainability as a way for your executives to gain competitive advantage and leave a mark on the world.
  • Resource: Top CEOs Focus on Sustainability

Your Goal: Planting the Seeds of Change

You can’t spark a revolution overnight, but you can plant a seed. That’s your goal for these conversations. By slowly eroding barriers to action, you’ll build a more active and engaged team that is personally invested in the outcome of your company’s sustainability efforts.

Have you experienced resistance by business function? How did you tailor your message to reach this group?

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