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From Discussion to Action: How Sustainability Consensus Workshops Drive Corporate Sustainability Plans

In today's era, the success of a company is not only measured by its financial performance but also by its contributions to society and the environment. Sustainable development has become a significant issue in the global business community, not only because it concerns the future of our planet but also because consumers, investors, employees, and policymakers are increasingly demanding that companies take greater social responsibility. Against this backdrop, this article explores how companies can use the innovative model of sustainability consensus workshops to drive their sustainability plans and achieve Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.



The Need for a Shift in Business Thinking


Traditional business models focus on short-term profits, often overlooking the long-term environmental and social impacts. However, as the world faces challenges like climate change, resource scarcity, and social inequality, companies need to shift their thinking from short-term gains to long-term sustainable development. This means companies need to reassess their business practices to ensure that their operations not only generate economic benefits but also have a positive impact on society and the environment.


The Deeper Meaning of Sustainable Development


Sustainable development is not just a synonym for environmental protection; it is a comprehensive development model aimed at achieving a balance between economic, social, and environmental aspects. This means that companies need to consider the long-term impact of their business on social welfare and environmental health while pursuing economic benefits. Sustainable development requires that today's decisions do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs, involving responsible use of resources, protection of biodiversity, and promotion of social justice and economic inclusivity.


a male person explaining a slide of a presentation

The Three Pillars of ESG


  1. (E) Environmental: This dimension focuses on the impact of corporate activities on the natural environment, including but not limited to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, efficient use of resources, waste reduction, and ecosystem protection. Companies strive to minimize their environmental footprint by implementing green technologies and sustainable operational practices.

  2. (S) Social: The social dimension considers how companies manage their relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the community. This includes respecting human rights, ensuring workplace safety and health, promoting diversity and inclusiveness, and investing in community development. Companies enhance their social capital through fair labor practices and active social participation.

  3. (G) Governance: Governance focuses on company leadership, internal controls, shareholder rights, and transparency. Good governance practices include establishing a strong board of directors, ensuring transparency and fairness in decision-making, avoiding conflicts of interest, and implementing effective risk management strategies. Strengthening governance structures helps companies build trust and ensure long-term sustainability.



How Do Sustainability Consensus Workshops Work?

Sustainability blueprint consensus workshops are interactive workshops designed for companies to foster internal consensus on sustainable development, understand, support, and implement sustainable development strategies, and achieve ESG goals. By participating in consensus workshops, companies can not only enhance employee awareness of the importance of sustainable development but also stimulate innovative thinking, promote teamwork, and develop practical sustainable development strategies. The goal is to help corporate teams establish common sustainable development goals through collective learning, discussion, and planning, and develop specific action plans to achieve these goals.


a male person explaining a concept

In the operation of corporate teams, one basic principle is how to make everyone own the issue, meaning there should be clear and complete communication about the strategic direction of corporate sustainability development, team goals, and the importance of departments and individual roles. "Understanding" involves grasping the corporate mission, business philosophy, vision, and short, medium, and long-term goals with a common perception; "Participation" involves setting goals, strategies, and action plans; "Responsibility" lies in actively implementing various strategic action plans with a responsible attitude, continuously revising the plan, being accountable for the results, including reviewing and improving unmet goals and celebrating and continuing to promote after achieving goals.


Typically, sustainability strategy consensus workshops have two features: cross-departmental participation and sufficient time for in-depth dialogue. Cross-departmental involvement allows mid-to-senior management teams to review past aspects comprehensively and strategically and envision the social and environmental education generated by the company's sustainable operation over centuries; sufficient time allows everyone to step out of the daily operational KPI thinking and depth and genuinely focus on communication and thinking.



Why are Sustainability Strategy Consensus Workshops Vital for Driving Corporate Sustainable Development?


Holding corporate consensus workshops is crucial for advancing sustainable development strategies for several interrelated reasons. Here are a few core reasons:


  • Raising Awareness of Sustainable Development: Consensus workshops can effectively raise participants' awareness of the importance of sustainable development, including understanding global challenges like climate change, resource depletion, and social inequality. Through in-depth discussions and interactive learning, employees can more clearly see how these issues affect the company and its stakeholders, thereby recognizing the urgency of taking action.

  • Promoting Internal Consensus: The workshops provide a platform for employees from different departments and levels within the company to come together, discuss, and understand the goals and strategies of sustainable development. This cross-departmental exchange and collaboration help break down information silos, establishing a consensus on the values and goals of sustainable development throughout the organization, thereby facilitating the effective implementation of strategies. Sustainable work is not the responsibility of a single department or individual but a sustainable development plan that all departments and colleagues in the company need to recognize and promote.

  • Inspiring Innovation and Solutions: Through workshops, case sharing, and group discussions, the workshops inspire participants to think of innovative solutions to challenges in sustainable development. The diverse perspectives brought by employees from different backgrounds and areas of expertise can incubate new ideas and strategies, helping companies make breakthroughs in sustainable development.

  • Strengthening Employee Participation and Responsibility: Employees who participate in consensus workshops often feel more empowered and have a stronger sense of responsibility towards the company's sustainable development goals. When employees recognize the importance of their actions in achieving these goals, they are more likely to adopt sustainable practices in their daily work.

  • Developing and Optimizing Sustainable Strategies: Consensus workshops are not only a place for sharing knowledge but also an opportunity to develop and optimize sustainable strategies. Through collective intelligence, companies can assess the effectiveness of existing strategies, identify areas for improvement, and develop new strategies to better address future challenges.

  • Building Corporate Culture and Brand Image: Companies committed to sustainable development can establish a corporate culture with sustainability at its core value through activities such as consensus workshops. This culture will permeate all aspects of the company over time and enhance the corporate brand image externally, attracting customers, investors, and talent.


In summary, holding corporate consensus workshops is not only important but also effective in advancing sustainable development strategies. They not only enhance employees' understanding and participation in sustainable development but also help form internal consensus, promote the development of innovative solutions, and ultimately drive progress in corporate sustainable development.


sustainability poster

Study Case: Shiangcheng's Journey of Sustainable Transformation


Shiangcheng, a lubricant distributor with over sixty years of history, has recently started actively exploring how to integrate sustainability concepts into its business model. As the largest CPC distributor in Southern Taiwan, inspired by DOMI Earth's role as a sustainability strategy development consultant, Shiangcheng has set the goal of becoming a B Corporation, a form of business that considers social and environmental benefits as part of its operational goals. It has also launched a series of innovative initiatives, including holding regular employee sustainability learning days and sustainability strategy consensus workshops, promoting a series of sustainable development empowerment plans, raising employee awareness of sustainability issues; visiting various concept-driven businesses to draw inspiration from their sustainable business models; redesigning the brand identity system to better reflect its sustainability values; and launching a new official website to showcase its sustainability story and products.


Furthermore, Shiangcheng has established a dedicated sustainability department responsible for developing and implementing sustainability-related strategies and activities, and improving employee welfare systems, increasing employee satisfaction and loyalty. Through Xiangcheng's CP value activities and other internal incentive mechanisms, Xiangcheng encourages employees to practice sustainable behaviors in their daily work and reduce environmental impact by guiding customers to extend product life and promote environmentally friendly products.


This series of actions by Xiangcheng has not only raised employees' awareness and participation in sustainable development but also promoted relationships with partners, enhanced brand image, and led other competitors in the industry, focusing on how century-old enterprises should think and promote sustainable development, setting a model of sustainable development in the entire industry. Xiangcheng's case clearly demonstrates how companies can achieve a change in internal culture, promote sustainable development practices, and make positive impacts on business, society, and environmental levels through sustainability strategy consensus workshops and other sustainable development initiatives.



Workshop Process: From Awareness to Action

For Shiangcheng's industry and partners, sustainability strategy consensus workshops are quite unfamiliar; for companies just starting their sustainable development planning, inviting all colleagues to participate in workshops meticulously prepared by the sustainable development consultancy DOMI Earth opened up a rich understanding and limitless imagination.


Professional trainers first lead all colleagues to think about what sustainable development means for the business and why, as members of the company, we need to care. Also, as part of the industry, why does our company need to start thinking about the value we want to create behind this? A series of questions right from the start open up participants' minds and attitudes, elevating their thinking to a strategic level, and contemplating how, as operators or even leaders of the industry, we should value and promote the purpose of sustainable development. 


group of people in a sustainability workshop

Through such a comprehensive and deep process, the workshop not only enhances colleagues' understanding of the aspects of sustainable development that the company and its industry should care about but, more importantly, cultivates their ability to transform sustainability concepts into corporate strategies and actions. This transition from knowledge to action is key to the success of a company's sustainable development plan.


group of people in a sustainability workshop

As the global awareness of the importance of sustainable development deepens, companies have the responsibility and opportunity to play a crucial role in shaping a green future. By planning regular sustainability strategy workshops, and allowing colleagues to participate in discussions and understand various types of company sustainability plans and initiatives, companies can not only enhance their own sustainable development capabilities but also strengthen internal cohesion, stimulate innovation, and improve the market.


testimonial of a persona that has participated in a workshop

 

AGC LIVE 2024 September class is now open for registration! The program focuses on how practitioners can purposefully lead sustainability work and meaningfully drive team engagement.


 

Join the Green Movement with DOMI Earth!


The DOMI Earth team comes from diverse backgrounds, but we share a single goal: to make the Earth better! Climate change is urgent—some may doubt or worry, but we choose to start making changes immediately. We use simple, easy-to-participate methods to invite more people to join us. We believe that the process of creating change must be joyful and filled with happiness, as symbolized by the smile in our logo. With smiles and love, we begin this transformation, embracing each better tomorrow with enthusiasm and courage.


It's never too late to start today. Join our energy-saving efforts and help create a world-changing, environmentally friendly movement!



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