Identify Actions, Set SMART Goals, and Select Strategies

Step 1

In this step, your Green Team will identify the most relevant and realistic sustainability actions for your organization, set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals, and outline the strategies that you will use to reach your goals. The Team will also identify the actions you will need employees to take to achieve your goals, and assess the barriers you may run into along the way so you can plan how to deal with them.

All organizations have unique issues to consider when developing and implementing sustainability initiatives. Some examples include tenancy and company operations. If you are one of many tenants renting office space in a large building, the feasible initiatives for your organization will be different than if you own a building. The core operation of your organization is also important. A professional services firm will focus on different initiatives than a courier business with a fleet of vehicles. It’s important that specific goals and actions be tailored to your organization’s needs and circumstances.

Once your Green Team selects its areas of focus, it will need to establish specific goals. This involves two basic steps: determining a baseline and establishing SMART goals. For example, if you choose to reduce paper, you should figure out how much paper you currently use by averaging the number of reams you go through over a period of time. This is the baseline. Then, decide on a goal and translate it into a numeric target. You should also have a deadline attached to the goal to keep your organization focused. Keeping with the paper example, if your organization consumes an average of 100 reams of paper per month, your goal may be to reduce that number by 20% by the next quarter.

By the end of this step, you will have documented the details of your program in a scope statement. Use the scope statement, along with the vision charter, as a guide moving forward to ensure that your program remains on track.

Setting Goals and Strategies: Task by Task

  • Identify functions and departments of the organization that use resources.
  • Gather resource usage data.
  • Select areas of focus.
  • Identify barriers, policies and operational attributes within your selected focus areas.
  • Identify actions.
  • Establish numeric targets and timelines, and determine how you will track progress.
  • Get leadership approval.

Tools and Considerations

  • Refer to the charter.
  • Conduct an employee survey.
  • Begin with the end in mind.
  • Be serious about understanding the barriers your employees face.
  • Refer to "Specific Strategies for Greening Your Workplace" and the SMART Goal Setting Worksheet as you set your goals and select actions.
  • Use the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as a tool for establishing your metrics.