Conquering adversity. Hurdle on way concept. Businessman obstacle metaphor. Overcoming obstacle on road. Vector illustration flat design. Barrier on way to success. Vector illustration flat design.

Contributed by The Ashkin Group

Many organizations are implementing sustainability programs. They view them as a progressive business strategy and astute business executives recognize that these programs help cut costs, make companies more competitive, and help ensure the long-term survival of businesses and organizations.

But sustainability today is more than just tracking emissions and reducing consumption. It's about business operations, inequality gaps, shipping, transporting, even removing carbon from the atmosphere.

Implementing sustainability strategies also makes a company more inviting to investors, improves their corporate image, helps them attain more customers, and attract more qualified staff.

However, in becoming more sustainable, some organizations may face unexpected hurdles. Such hurdles need not derail the plan. Invariably, they can be overcome. Among the challenges I have encountered and how I suggest overcoming them are the following:

Not Setting Goals. 

Organizations not only need to set sustainability goals, but these should be ambitious goals. Make big plans. Aim high. This will get more staffers excited and behind the program.

Not Having Monitoring Systems in Place. 

Measuring sustainability performance with a robust monitoring system is crucial. Monitoring systems track an organization's progress, indicating successes, where more effort is needed, and get more people involved in the program. The more people involved in the program, the more likely it will succeed.

The Leadership/Action Gap.

Very often, sustainability strategies are created in the C-suite, but implementation and action steps are missing. A plan without action steps goes nowhere. Ensure leaders have laid out the next steps and that the people on the ground are taking action to achieve the company’s goals.

A Lack of Documentation and Communication. 

Documenting and communicating an organization's sustainability progress allows investors, customers, and staff to quickly access pertinent data. This is something organizations should want to proudly share with others.  Publishing sustainability progress invariably leads to even more progress.

“Finally, organizations must make everyone in the organization accountable for sustainability,” adds Ashkin “This way, it gets in the organization's DNA... sustainability becomes who they are.