Delivering Sustainable Value to Stakeholders

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

The term “sustainability” became part of the environmental discussion in the 1990s and has been popular ever since. The scope of the word has expanded beyond living in a way that does no harm to the environment. Today, at least when it comes to doing business, sustainability pursuits include doing business in a way that perpetuates environmentally friendly products and processes while maintaining profits.

Adopting strategies built around social, environmental and financial considerations is known as the “triple bottom line” (TBL). By way of definition, PMI defines sustainability as follows:

“Sustainability is about how organizations manage financial, social and environmental risks to ensure their business can continue to operate, regardless of obstacles such as resource shortages, environmental disasters, and social and political events.”

But how does a strategy that incorporates sustainability’s TBL manifest itself in the way an enterprise delivers value to its stakeholders? Shouldn’t the real focus of an enterprise be to deliver sustainable value to its stakeholders (owners, customers, employees, strategic partners, governments and communities)?

To answer this question, let’s explore each stakeholder group against the backdrop of sustainability.

1. Owners: In order to deliver sustainable value to owners, the…


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