When budgets are presented, or it is time for projects to be evaluated for ongoing financing the more value the project creates, including value for the business itself, the stronger its case for continued corporate investment. Budget crunches will happen and a solid 360 degree value creation framework will strengthen your project’s chances of staying off the budget chopping block.
A healthy dose of What’s In It For Me will make sustainability projects more financially sustainable. And, ironically, better able to produce long term social and environmental impact.
So, how do we make sure that we are maximizing 360 degrees of value with our projects? We can generally assume that beneficiary value (social and environmental impact) has been hard-wired in at the planning stage, so leave that for last on your value optimization analysis.
Start your value optimization analysis with self interest. Yes, it is OK to look at your sustainability spending through a What’s In It For Me lens. In fact, it is foolish to not do that. It should be a standard part of project development. If not, I guarantee that you are leaving money on the table.
Get your team together and ask yourselves how this project can create value for your business?
- For your employees?
- Can it it help solve problems and issues for any of your colleagues?
- How can it do more for the community and local beneficiaries?
- How can it help with environmental stewardship and ecosystem management?
- Is there any way it could be helpful to any of your suppliers? (and, if so, is that monetizable as a contribution towards the budget?)
- Is there any way it can be valuable for your customers and other stakeholders?
- Where else might incremental value be hiding?
When you finish this you will find yourself with some good ideas (and some not so good). Evaluate them and see how you can incorporate them and turn zero-sum sustainability spending into a value creation investment
Do this for your existing projects, and for all new ones. Your management team and CFO should actually require it. There is no way they should let sustainability investments get by with less.
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President & Founder