Questions to consider for developing your sustainability work

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All the questions from all four sections are collected here.

Business models for sustainable business 
Profitability for sustainable business 
Funding for a sustainable business
Sustainable product and service development
Sustainable production
Sustainable distribution and transport
Sustainable supply chains
How sustainable is your business?
Objectives and follow-up for sustainability work
Sustainable organisation
Communicating your sustainability work 

Business models for sustainable business 

  • In what way is your company’s business model sustainable?
  • What trends in society affect your business model?
  • Can you find a way to earn more money when you sell/buy fewer products or a smaller quantity of materials?
  • Can you earn money from helping people to live more sustainably?
  • Can you solve a problem on the market by means of a digital service instead of a physical product?
  • Who can you collaborate with to create even more value for your customers?

Profitability for sustainable business 

  • What can you do to ensure your business makes more efficient use of resources?
  • Is there a need to develop more sustainable products or services in your industry that satisfy customer needs in a better way?
  • Can you charge a higher price for your product if you clarify the value that the customer receives?
  • What can you do to ensure your employees are happy, have the chance to develop and remain with the company?

Funding for a sustainable business

  • Is it attractive for investors who want to support sustainable development to invest in your business? If yes, have you described it in a clear manner in your communication?
  • Do the values of investors and other funders align with what you want to achieve as a business?

Sustainable product and service development

  • How can you reduce the use of raw materials, energy or chemicals?
  • Can you assess what type of environmental impact your service or product will have by studying life cycle analyses for similar services or products?
  • Has the product been designed so that it can easily be shared by multiple users, or be repaired, upgraded, reused or recycled?
  • How can you inform users how to use the product in order to minimise environmental impact?
  • Can you find new customer groups who want to purchase your product after its initial use?
  • If you intend to rent a product, how can you make this more attractive than buying it?

Sustainable production

  • What parts of your production process use the most energy, water, heat or chemicals and how can this be reduced?
  • How can you reduce waste or surplus material arising from production?
  • Can you reuse any of the surplus material in your process?
  • Which nearby companies could you collaborate with to share resources or make use of surplus material?
  • Can you produce your products or services in a new and smarter way compared to your competitors and what is traditional for the industry?
  • What equipment should you replace or purchase next? Investigate the potential for improving your resource efficiency.
  • Can you avoid stoppages in production though improved maintenance?

Sustainable distribution and transport 

  • What scope is there for reducing transport or choosing transport that generates less climate-impacting emissions?
  • Do you have any customers who often order small batches? Could you suggest a larger order to reduce the number of transport journeys?
  • Is the transport company used by your business taking an active approach to sustainability?
  • How can the products be packaged to take up as little space and packaging material as possible?
  • Can you use reusable packaging?

Sustainable supply chains 

  • Why have you chosen your particular suppliers?
  • Do you demand an active ap proach to sustainability from your suppliers?
  • How do your suppliers approach sustainability?
  • Do you know what the work environment and working conditions are like at your suppliers?
  • Do you buy eco-friendly materials and raw materials?
  • Do you opt for organic, eco-friendly and Fairtrade products when purchasing?
  • Are there things your business can hire or subscribe to instead of purchasing?

How sustainable is your business?

  • Do you know which sustainability issues are most relevant for your business to work on?Where would sustainability efforts by your business yield the most benefit?
  • What scope is there for your business to reduce transport within purchasing and distribution activities or to reduce business travel by staff?
  • Have you identified which sustainability issues are important to your stakeholders?
  • Which external issues relating to sustainability affect your activities? Consider both risks (climate change, supply chains, etc.) and new opportunities. How is the business responding to these challenges?
  • What scope does your industry have to be more sustainable?
  • Does your business have up-to-date policy documents for the environment and the work environment?

Objectives and follow-up for sustainability work 

  • Are there measurable goals for your business’ sustainability work?
  • Are there any larger companies in your industry that produce sustainability reports that you can draw on for inspiration for your own business’ sustainability goals?
  • What do you already measure within the business and can it be used to monitor your sustainability goals?
  • Are there any digital tools that would make it easier to gather sustainability information from your activities?

Sustainable organisation

  • Who or what function is currently working on sustainability issues? Do they have the right expertise to deal with all elements of sustainability? Is there a need for skills development or new recruitment?
  • Who has overall responsibility for the sustainability work?
  • Are you an approachable and inspiring leader when it comes to sustainability?
  • How do you encourage employees to put forward suggestions and ideas?
  • How can sustainability work be integrated into the organisation so that it is not just incidental to the business’ ordinary activities?
  • Do all managers in the organisation have responsibility and a mandate to incorporate sustainability into their decisions and their day-to-day work?
  • How do you monitor sustainability issues and developments in the wider world?

Communicating your sustainability work 

  • Have you identified what sustainability aspects are most important to your customers? 
  • Do you explain to your customers the ways in which your offering helps in making sustainable choices?
  • How can you make it easier for your customers to make sustainable choices?
  • Do you tell your customers what you are planning to do moving forward and what your objectives are?

 

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Responsible: Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth

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