(Last Updated On: 15th March 2012)

It’s Day 4 of our Climate Week blogs. I hope this one is useful.

You might already have been running your business for a number of years, or are in the start up phase of launching a new business.

Either way, there is a simple approach to creating a Values Led/Ethical/Sustainable Business.

I’ve talked a bit about Ethics before in my Blog, We’ve updated our Ethical and Environmental Policies.

But what do I mean by Values Led?

Values Led, is a phase Robin from Ethical SEO introduced me to.  Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield stated, “a values-led business seeks to maximize its impact by integrating socially beneficial actions into as many of its day-to-day activities as possible. In order to do that, values must lead and be right up there in a company’s mission statement, strategy and operating plan.”

And what do I mean by Sustainable?

Wiki states:

Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship, the responsible management of resource use.

The FT Lexicon states:

Business sustainability represents resiliency over time – businesses that can survive shocks because they are intimately connected to healthy economic, social and environmental systems. These businesses create economic value and contribute to healthy ecosystems and strong communities.

It’s up to you which word you chose to describe your business, but what’s important, is what you do.

You could start by implementing quick wins, such as those I blogged about yesterday, or those in the many books on the subject.  All great, but I’d recommend Backcasting.

By backcasting you set up your ideal future scenarios and then map policy paths back to your current situation.

  1. Define a vision of a sustainable future,
  2. Develop scenarios which describe how that vision could be met,
  3. Determine your businesses current position in relation to your vision of a sustainable future,
  4. Develop strategic paths to move towards your vision,
  5. Identify policies, projects and programs to start the company along the strategic path.

The benefits of backcasting are that:

  1. Policies and projects are developed within a long term strategic framework – raising the chances of your business reaching its vision,
  2. Policies are holistic, rather than individual,
  3. The focus is on desirable outcomes rather than trying to buck trends or trying to ‘resolve established problems’,
  4. All staff and other stakeholders can be involved, meaning better ideas and buy into the process,
  5. By forgetting current trends, creativity is unleashed.

I’ve done a version of backcasting before, but I think it’s time for a refresh!

Let me know how you get on, post your success stories here to inspire others.

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