Sustainability has outgrown its infancy. What was once particularly the territory of the green thinkers has become commonplace. A sustainability policy is now taken for granted in a business plan. A welcome development but one with a caveat: sustainability is often misused as a fashionable label, as a strategy to positively position the company. Those who really want to work on sustainability will have to integrate it in every business process. Easier said than done, but fortunately there is a ready-made solution: the EFQM Excellence Model.
Sustainability policy starts with defining ambitions. As was discussed last week, The Natural Step provides an effective method for making strategic choices. With the EFQM Excellence Model these choices can be translated into actions. Sustainability has actually been an integral part of the EFQM Model for over 25 years. In fact, it is specifically mentioned in the EFQM vision: ‘A world striving for sustainable excellence.’
The EFQM Excellence Model is a universal business model aimed at quality, efficiency and sustainability. Total Quality Management plays an important role, with a continuous self-evaluation as guideline. The integral approach is clearly visible in the business results, because that’s where company results, customer results and social results come together. In that last category the aim for a sustainable future is mentioned specifically.
Companies are still primarily judged on financial performance. Sustainability is therefore often given a lower priority. A missed opportunity because the one need not exclude the other: there is a clear relationship between financial and non-financial results. After all, those who do business with an eye to social results, is also aware of the entire chain. Sustainable entrepreneurs oversee the impact of all their processes, in the short and long term, and are always looking for ways to operate smarter and more efficiently. Ultimately, that benefits all stakeholders, both inside and outside the company’s walls. Want to know more? Find out why sustainability is a bridge to the capital market.
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‘Excellent organizations have a positive influence within the community in which they are located, by investing in the economic, social and environmental circumstances. In addition, excellent organizations are also aware of the impact the surroundings have on the organization.’ – EFQM Excellence Model 2013
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