As Kermit the Frog sang, it’s not easy being green. Well, Kermit, try achieving corporate sustainability. It’s more than just “going green.” It generally means giving consideration to the environmental, economic, and social impact of a company's business practices.
While it’s not necessarily easy, it’s the responsible thing to do. It’s also good business as more consumers demand that companies be good stewards and corporate citizens. And that includes the Postal Service.
“Corporate sustainability recognizes the value of people, planet, and profit – the triple bottom line.” That’s a quote from USPS Chief Sustainability Officer Thomas Day in the agency’s 2014 Annual Sustainability Report. USPS has been issuing a sustainability report since 2008, and over the past few years the report’s focus has expanded from just green initiatives to the broader concept of working to improve the Postal Service’s economic, environmental, and social practices to make a positive impact on operations and communities served.
Included in the Postal Service’s 2016 Sustainability Report are not just its performance toward goals of reducing facility energy intensity, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption, but also its performance toward corporate goals, such as achieving controllable income gains and increasing customer service satisfaction. The report indicates USPS is on target in all areas except for its goal to reduce fleet-wide, per-mile greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2025.
In addition, this year’s report includes stakeholder survey results identifying 13 social, economic and environmental material aspects that are critical to USPS success. Five were determined to be significant: financial stability; optimize delivery and network operations; digital and physical security; government relations/legislative and regulatory reform; and customer service and satisfaction.
For this year, USPS is identifying measurable goals, objectives, and targets that will help. “We’ll continue to identify metrics for those aspects that are within our control and report progress toward the goals in future report,” it notes.
What do you think is the most important aspect of sustainability? Should it be focused primarily on green initiatives or on the full breadth of a company’s practices? How is this kind of report different from a strategic plan?