Even if you don’t ever watch a game, football culture is part of everyday life in the U.S. Since 1920, the NFL has been delighting fans and breaking hearts all over the world. You’ll find football metaphors in pop culture, political speeches, at work, and at home because the structure can apply to nearly every kind of situation. 

When thinking about sustainability and how your organization can meet sustainability goals, football is a relevant and fun way to frame the path to success. Both are methodical, require teamwork, and have many different strategies. It isn’t just about scoring big, but rather about continually making gains and moving forward instead of backward.  

This post will help you get your team prepared, plan the right plays, and achieve sustainability goals in a crucial year ahead. 

Focus on Fundamentals 

The rules can be loose if you’re playing a pickup game with friends, but the pros have everything down to a science. Before getting started, make sure that your organization is clear on the difference between the ideal of sustainability and Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategies. We explore this distinction in this post, but it boils down to this: sustainability is an ideal, and ESG is the way to achieve it.  

It’s a little like moving from “We want to win” to “Here’s the exact game plan that is going to carry us to victory.” This requires a team priority shift from the non-specific objective of improved sustainability to a specific and measurable ESG framework. 

The first association most people have with the idea of sustainability is environmental, but ESG frameworks are broader: 

  • Environment: Impact on the natural world both locally and globally. 
  • Social: Impact on people in and outside of the organization, including human rights, safety, treatment of employees, and impact on local communities. 
  • Governance: Leadership policies, diversity, corruption, and corporate transparency. 

Your organization can concentrate on all or some of these areas within the ESG framework, but it pays to understand your challenges and opportunities in all three. 

Build a Strong Ground Game  

Great offenses in the NFL aren’t always defined by their ability to rip off huge highlight plays, but often by their ability to control the ball, consistently gain positive yardage, and maintain leads. Similarly, you can focus your sustainability strategy on small, incremental, measurable outcomes over the course of the year. Small goals stoke team spirit and can add up to big rewards. 

Initiatives such as a recycling or rideshare program keep people engaged and interested and give them a sense of inclusion. Your company can organize volunteer teams for local environmental projects such as trash pickup. Sustainability is such a vast concept that it helps to give people short-term, personally achievable goals with observable positive outcomes. 

Throw the Occasional Deep Ball 

That said, winning the Big Game is the prize, and it’s good to have one or two ambitious stretch goals to rally around. ESG strategies can seem daunting, but even the loftiest outcome can be achieved with teamwork and commitment. The key is to develop an ESG strategy that consists of: 

  • Analysis: Determine current state, gap analysis between current state and goals, and conduct a materiality assessment
  • Goals and Objectives: Develop a strategic ESG roadmap and framework, set action plans, and determine key performance indicators. 
  • Reporting: Communicate your progress along the way to stakeholders, employees, and the public. 

Defense Wins Championships  

It’s not all about playing offense and pushing flashy initiatives. Much of a good sustainability strategy is about being proactively ready for anything that comes. Though you won’t have the convenience of instant replays, you should assess where you are now, what you should be ready for, and how to refine your strategies along the way. Conduct screenings and assessments, document your processes and remain aware of upcoming regulations and legislation. A few skirmishes now will hone your strategy when it really counts. 

Be sure to document findings, and new processes and procedures, to help communicate your progress and keep your playbook consistent over time. Many ESG goals are long-term and can be vulnerable to breaking down. Keeping an eye on upcoming legislation and regulatory changes for your industry will prepare you for the future. It can be a significant advantage to get in compliance before regulations go live whenever possible. 

Field an Elite Coaching Staff 

Good players are made better by the right coaching staff, which can provide experience, expertise, and a strategic big-picture voice. Even the best players need good coaching and bringing in sustainability experts is the best way to make sure your plays will win the day. The seasoned experts at Antea Group can help guide your organization to victory through our sustainability consulting services.  

ESG strategies require specialized knowledge and awareness of rules and regulations, even those that haven’t become official yet. For example, PFAS regulations will touch nearly every business in the future, but many don’t know yet how they will impact their organization. Antea Group’s PFAS screening tool is just one of the specialized services we offer.  

Don’t Forget the Fans  

Reaching sustainability goals is its own reward, but it is also good for business. Consumers are increasingly interested in sustainable goods and services, and they can cheer – or boo – your team.  As you move towards your goals, let people know! You can also engage fans by inviting customer comments or suggestions on sustainability. Communicate to customers that when they support your company, they are also making a difference in the world. Sharing your progress not only gets fans pumped for the team but can also inspire others to begin their own sustainability programs. Win-win! 

Win the Big Game 

Whether you’re a local team or a national franchise, how you play the sustainability game matters. With the right coaching, planning, and organization, your business can go all the way and win big. Let Antea Group help coach your team and then play your way into Hall of Fame glory. 

Contact our Sustainability Consulting Team today

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