Three Critical Success Factors for the Sustainability Journey

Three Critical Success Factors for the Sustainability Journey

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It is often written that the journey of a 1,000 miles starts with a single step.  Over the last two years members of the QuEST Sustainability Initiative (SI) have had the pleasure and honor of seeing their own organization and others make consistent improvements in their sustainability journey since QuEST’s SI kick off in early 2014.  

The SI group has now grown to a worldwide membership of 35 leading companies that encompass many different cultures, backgrounds and business lines within the ICT sector.  Despite those differences, there are three critical success factors have been common across all organizations and the success of their sustainability programs.

  • A Commitment to Improvement
  • A Commitment to Engagement
  • A Commitment to Leverage

A commitment to each of these three factors helps ensure a successful sustainability program and provides the long term foundation that supports and helps overcome the minor challenges encountered in the sustainability journey along every step of the way.

A Commitment to Improvement

“What gets measured is what gets improved.” 

This is one of the core practices of this industry and of the QuEST Forum.  A commitment to improve is at its heart, a commitment to measure.  Without measuring and reporting at regular intervals there is no way to judge the progress of your program or to identify areas for improvement.

Members of the QuEST SI group have the ability to measure their own progress against themselves and the group average.  The radar chart below shows the progress of the QuEST SI group as a whole as of May 1, 2016.  The average improvement across the 10 measurements of the SI/epi model is 19%, with the highest improvement being 44% for Stakeholder Engagement.

A Commitment to Engagement

Stakeholder Engagement is one of the leading attributes in the implementation of a successful Sustainability program.  In every example of Best Practices Sharing within the SI group, it’s been repeated than an organization’s commitment to access the collective intelligence of their employees gives that organization a distinct competitive advantage in identifying and optimizing the sustainability areas that will provide the company with the greatest impact and results.  Early and deep engagement throughout the organization provides the foundation and the energy to realize the environmental and economic benefits of a progressive sustainability program.

Improving Stakeholder Engagement creates more touch points on Sustainability improvement issues and ensures that the employees are aligned and thinking about Sustainability in their work and in their personal lives.  At the same time, there is no denying the cultural impact and sense of pride that employees receive from helping to make the world a better and more sustainable environment for all.

A Commitment to Leverage

The QuEST SI/epi model has an emphasis on economic benefits that go hand in hand with improvements in sustainability.  Leveraging sustainability across an organizations supply chain in the areas of Eco-Design, Logistics and Circular Economy creates win-win solutions across factors such as customer satisfaction, carbon reduction, improved operational efficiency and reduced costs.

One of the shared best practices within the SI group is the astounding results achieved by Adva Optical Networking and epi in their work with British Telecom (BT).  Through participation in BT’s Better Future Supplier Forum Game Changing Challenge Adva Optical and epi implemented a sustainability focused supply chain solution that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 750 metric tons annually.  Additional benefits of the solution include:

  • A 300% return on investment
  • Reduces BT engineer travel time by 13,000 hours per year
  • Reduces BT engineer travel distance by more than 300,000 miles

The end result of Adva’s implementation it that it enhances the customer relationship by creating both a greener environment and a greener bottom line for both companies.  Adva and BTs partnership is a strong example of how sustainably focused products and solutions create sustainable businesses.

Over the last two years, the QuEST SI group has had numerous presentations and best practices shared within its bi-weekly Thursday meetings.  Regardless of their place in the ICT sector or their place on the planet, these three critical commitments have been the common success factors in every successful sustainability journey.  It all starts with a single step.

Make that first step!  For more information on joining the QuEST Forum Sustainability Initiative, please email

Written by Jef Mindrup

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