Blog Post: How business can move towards more sustainability: while creating a compass

by Matthias Mueller – founder of Sustainability Compass mobile app

In a series of three articles this is article No. 3. First article was about "Why we all should act smart based on our sustainability compass". The second article was about “Why Sustainability Cards facilitate the dialogue about the future we want”.

In the previous articles you have read about the background and intent of the Sustainability Compass mobile app and the tool that facilitates face-to-face communication: the Sustainability Cards. In this article I’d like to introduce you to the value that it generates for business. Let’s start with an example.
My colleague Richard used the Compass and its cards as an accelerator for designing a project strategy. The company owns and manages systems like producing biogas, distributed heating. That’s what Richard wrote me about his experience:
“Overall it became a very interesting exercise. This is what we did:
1. Participants were separated in two groups (management/administration and marketing/product). Both groups had to work on the same challenge.
2. Every group member selected the four sustainablity drivers.
3. In a negotiation phase the four drivers per head were reduced to the four drivers the whole group could commit to.
4. Starting form these four drivers the teams designed a mindmap with the most important questions, influences on our concrete project.
5. The groups presented their results and shared their insights.”

So business can profit from the Sustainability Compass because it provides an easy to understand language and a quick entry point for defining strategies that lead to more sustainability in business. On prezi there is the design for a business workshop based on the Sustainability Compass – quite similar to the one Richard used.

Design for a business workshop on Prezi.

Another example is my work with the management team of a medium-sized company providing products (steel, tubes, security solutions) and services in the buidling industry. Their intent was to understand better where they were with their sustainablity-driven actions in order to create projects that moved them further. So for the assessment part of the workshop I gave them the criteria of the Sustainability Compass and simply asked them: “Where is your company in accomplishing the goals of the criteria, rate between 1 and 10.” We put all the results together in a graph. And if you know business you will understand that based on this graph a rich discussion was launched.

A management team uses the Sustainability Compass. This graph shows the results of their self-assessment.

So the Sustainability Compass brings business an easy tool to define strategy and to assess the present state. How this can be done on a team level is shown in our video with “The story of Leo”.

What we as owners and promoters of the Sustainability Compass would like to achieve is the fact that businesses include the Compass in their training efforts. We haven’t managed to achieve that goal yet but we think that the Compass could provide an inspiring first step for employees to discover sustainability, to have a dialogue about it and to get the energy to do something useful. One could even build a complete sustainability course around the Compass. It is a sort of dictionary about sustainability and sustainable development. Of course we are happy that in the polish business university of Wroclaw future managers use the Sustainability Compass to better understand business issues.

So this is why the Sustainability Compass can be good for business: it’s easy to understand, facilitates effective dialogue and decision-making and it creates a language every manager and employee understands. The Compass can be used for strategy building (on company level, for teams, for projects), for assessments and for training, awareness building.

Our journey has just started – do you feel inspired?