The Final Project for this course is the creation of an Environmental and Social Sustainability Plan.
Sustainability has moved beyond being a buzzword to become an integral consideration for planning and executing business processes. The term sustainability embodies not only environmental considerations but also social and financial aspects. Combined, these three aspects comprise the “triple bottom line.” Arguably, the operations function is the best focus area for an organization to enhance the triple bottom line. Operations is the function that transforms inputs (such as raw materials and supplies) into outputs (such as finished goods ready to ship to consumers, or other products that are used as inputs for downstream customers). Properly managing and leading the workforce and using lean tools are just some of the means by which major sustainability improvements can be made in operations.
For your final assessment, you will benchmark sustainability practices from a company of your choice to develop an environmental and social sustainability plan for a fictional company. It is important that you incorporate both the knowledge you gained from this course and research on a company that currently uses the triple bottom line strategy to achieve sustainability goals.
The project is divided into four milestones, which will be submitted at various points throughout the course to scaffold learning and ensure quality final submissions. These milestones will be submitted in Modules One, Two, Four, and Five.
In this assignment, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following course outcomes:
QSO-328-01 Analyze operations and supply chain trends for their benefits and drawbacks regarding social, environmental, and financial sustainability
QSO-328-02 Assess the coordination of sustainability efforts with trading partners across the supply chain for the extent to which it reduces
QSO-328-03 Assess organizational performance by applying triple bottom line theory in balancing social, environmental, and financial requirements
QSO-328-04 Evaluate business practices for their appropriateness in achieving sustainable operations in manufacturing and service operations
You are the director of operations at XYZ Manufacturing Company. Your boss, who is the VP for Operations, came to your office to vent. She just got out of a meeting where senior executives were pressuring her for increased output and better financial performance in the company’s operations. However, she is concerned that the company has been focused too much on short-term financial performance, and not on the long-term sustainability of the company. She worries that employees are not satisfied, and the company is currently experiencing a “brain drain,” where many top performers are actively searching for employment elsewhere. Unfortunately, some employees have already left, and they are helping to convince others to leave too. She also is concerned about constant threats from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has recently questioned whether or not some of the firm’s processes are polluting local
water sources. In addition, customer focus groups have indicated that the company does not have a good environmental reputation, and data from the focus groups suggest companies’ environmental efforts are becoming increasingly important to consumers.
In summary, she is worried that the company will not last if it keeps going in the same direction. She wants to develop a plan to present to the COO that addresses some of the issues described above, but she’s not sure where to start. She has asked you to do some research on ways the company can improve but beyond just financial performance. She understands that there must be a balance and that financial performance measures will always be important, but you know that “performance” is not based on financial statements alone. To get started, she has been considering some environmental and social sustainability goals for the company, such as:
Exceed all EPA and other environmental regulatory standards.
Reduce carbon footprint by 50% in the next 20 years.
Attract and retain the best talent.
Improve the company’s reputation in the local community and with customers.
With your instructor’s help, you will choose a company to research to inform a sustainability strategy for the hypothetical XYZ company. You may choose to use the company at which you currently work if there is enough information to inform sustainability recommendations for XYZ Manufacturing Company. When researching your chosen company, focus specifically on social, environmental, and financial stability. Next, apply what you have researched to inform sustainability choices for XYZ Manufacturing Company.
Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed:
A. Briefly introduce the company you researched. Focus on the company’s sustainability efforts, especially its efforts to maintain financial,
environmental, and social sustainability and what the results of these efforts have been.
B. How do emerging technologies or best practices affect environmental and social sustainability efforts at the company you researched? How do
they affect the financial bottom line at this company? Be sure to provide support for your analysis.
C. Assess this company’s collaboration with its suppliers and customers. Does this collaboration improve its environmental sustainability across the
entire supply chain? If it does, what evidence is there of this? If it doesn’t, why do you think this is? Support your reasoning with evidence.
D. What metrics are this company using to assess how well it is meeting its environmental and social impact goals? What data are used to support
these metrics, and how are these data collected? Explain why you think the company chose these metrics.
II. Environmental and Social Sustainability Plan
A. How might the technologies or best practices described in the overview be effective in meeting XYZ’s environmental and social sustainability
goals? How might they hinder XYZ’s pursuit of environmental and social sustainability? Be sure to support your analysis.
B. How could XYZ collaborate with its suppliers to improve environmental and social sustainability across the entire supply chain? Be sure to
support your assessment with the information you have previously researched.
C. Assess these efforts to collaborate with suppliers for their effectiveness in reducing XYZ’s environmental and social impact and provide support
for your conclusions.
D. How could XYZ collaborate with its customers to improve environmental and social sustainability across the entire supply chain? Remember, customers can be both businesses and direct consumers. Be sure to support your assessment with the information you have previously researched.
E. Assess these efforts to collaborate with customers for their effectiveness in reducing XYZ’s environmental and social impact and provide support for your conclusions.
F. Choose metrics to assess how well XYZ Manufacturing Company is meeting its environmental and social impact goals. What data would be used to support these metrics? How would you collect these data? Explain why these metrics would be effective.
III. Implications for Financial Sustainability
A. How could this environmental and social sustainability plan potentially affect the financial sustainability of XYZ Manufacturing Company in the
long term? Provide support for your explanation.
B. What are the implications of emerging technology or best practices for environmental and social sustainability on the financial bottom line of XYZ?
How does this differ from the implications discussed earlier on your researched company? Provide supporting evidence for your answers.
A. How do the financial, social, and environmental plans at XYZ come together to represent the best practices of sustainability? How do the
practices suggested in the environmental and social sustainability plan relate to the company you researched previously? Provide support for
B. How do you balance and remove conflict among all three aspects of the triple bottom line? For example, how do you ensure that your plans for
environmental sustainability do not negatively impact your plans for financial and social sustainability? Provide support for your answers.
C. Outline key milestones that XYZ Manufacturing Company would need to meet to achieve the same level of environmental, social, and financial
sustainability as your researched company based on the timeline that it took your researched company to achieve its current level of sustainability and your current knowledge of the triple bottom line.