Happy Holidays from SSC

As 2014 comes to an end, everyone at SSC would like to thank you - the blog reader, the email subscriber, the Facebook fan - for sticking with us another year! We are very grateful for you support, and we wish you all very happy holidays. We can't wait to see what the new year brings all of us!

And as a reminder, SSC's offices will be closed for the next two weeks (unless prior arrangements have been made).

Three Ways to Get Unstuck on Your Sustainability Journey

Last fall, we published a blog entry dedicated to helping you get "unstuck" on your sustainability journey. As the year comes to an end and 2015 is just around the corner, we thought this advice could be helpful so you can start your 2015 sustainability journey off on the right foot! Enjoy:

Do you find yourself turning an idea or a business problem over and over in your head, and no matter the number of Google searches you perform or the number of walks you take, you just can't figure out a way to move forward? We all go through it. The key is knowing how to emerge. 

Eric V. Holtzclaw, CEO and founder of Laddering Works, quoted in Inc. Magazine

No matter how successful your sustainability program is, it's likely that at some point you are going to hit a roadblock. Nothing you try will work, and you'll make yourself crazy going around in circles. Sometimes it's helpful to step back and try the three ways to "get unstuck" suggested by Holtzclaw.

LEAN ON A SUPPORT GROUP

There are a number of sustainability communities out there, each with their own unique kind of support. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • LinkedIn Groups -- there are literally dozens of green and sustainability-focused groups on LinkedIn. Join a couple that look good, and pose some questions to the group!
  •  Quora -- while not specifically dedicated to sustainability, there are some fascinating (and brilliant) people who chime in with all kinds of insight. Our latest favorite: What are examples of organzations that produce sustainable clothing and apparel?
  • Local green business networking groups -- if you live in (or near) a decent-sized city, chances are that there is at least one group that meets up periodically. Try Net Impact or Green Drinks to get started!

ENLIST AN OUTSIDE EXPERT

Obviously, this one is our favorite options. We love being that "outside expert" that people turn to for coaching and consulting guidance. Whether its a single hour on the phone, a 2-day "sustainability sprint" (where you come to our offices to dive deep and fast into a particular issue), or a 6-month engagement--take advantage of what sustainability experts have to offer. Interested? Contact us for a complimentary consultation.

READ A GOOD BOOK

Here are a few of the gems in our sustainability library that continue to inspire us long after the first reading:

What do YOU do to get unstuck when it comes to sustainability? Join the conversation on Twitter, where SSC President Jennifer Woofter (@jenniferwoofter) tweets on overcoming sustainability challenges. 

4 Things to Know about SPLC's Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing Program

Beginning in January 2015, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) will be launching a pilot program aimed to help companies have more leadership guidance in sustainable purchasing. This program strives to fix the lack of coordination and standardization among purchasing companies when it comes to sustainability, and it hopes to provide more detailed guidance. Currently, SPLC is recruiting companies to join the pilot that will begin in January 2015 and will last until May 2015.

With the program set to launch in a few weeks, we decided to provide a brief overview of what a company can expect from the new guidance program. Below are four key aspects everyone can expect:

Getting Started

When first entering the pilot program, SPLC offers some advice on some of the best ways to start. One of the first steps is to gain support from key internal and external stakeholders. It is then important to create a scope of all the activities, goals, roles, and responsibilities that will come up during the program. Finally, make sure that you have internal and external stakeholder engagement set up throughout the entire process.

The Process

During the pilot program, there are four key areas of the process:

  • Analyze – identifying impacts within spending, prioritizing categories for action
  • Action Plan – identifying and selecting proven strategies for mitigating impacts while delivering values (purchasing category guidance is used here - see below)
  • Implement – setting goals, timelines and policies, training staff, and engaging suppliers
  • Measure – tracking and benchmarking performance while evaluating for continuous improvement

Category Guidance

SPLC recognizes that not every company purchases the same products. Some companies deal with food purchasing, while other companies handle transportation and fuels, and SPLC has designated categories that address specific guidance for a company in each sector. While each category might have different guidance, each one will have the same structure by providing a scope, potential challenges, metrics, indicators, case studies, resources, and more.

Getting Recognition

Each company that participates in the pilot program will have the opportunity to earn recognition from SPLC. Depending on a company’s involvement in the program (there are different levels of participation), a company can earn leadership recognition. More information regarding this aspect of the pilot program will be released once the rating system is released.

Earlier this year we wrote about SPLC's tips to improving your purchasing leadership. You can read that blog entry here.