Organizational Risk Planning for Sustainability Programs

When planning organizational sustainability for your organization, you need to consider the organization’s context, its internal and external stakeholders, and the scope of its formal sustainability program. With this information, it needs to determine the potential adverse effects (threats) and the potential beneficial effects (opportunities) related to its aspects, compliance, and governance. This is the crux of the risk planning that is needed. How many organizations that you know are doing this kind of risk planning in their sustainability programs?

Within the defined scope of the sustainability program, the organization should determine the aspects of its activities, products, and services that it can control and those that it can influence, and their associated impacts, considering a “life cycle perspective.” These aspects come from the environment, the health & safety program, energy management, and organizational social responsibility.

When thinking of these aspects, you should consider:

  • Change, including planned or new developments, and new or modified activities, products, or services.

  • Abnormal conditions and reasonably foreseeable emergency situations.

The organization will determine those program aspects that can have a significant threat on the organization and its stakeholders.

The organization determines those program aspects that should be included in the organization’s objectives or be a significant aspect in their internal management program using established criteria as an opportunity.

When planning how to achieve its sustainability program objectives, in concert with the stakeholders, the organization shall determine:

  • What will be done

  • What resources will be required

  • Who will be responsible

  • When it will be completed

  • How the results will be evaluated in terms of risk described above (i.e. opportunities and threats)

When planning for sustainability, the leader needs to be assured that the sustainability program can

  • Achieve its intended outcomes

  • Prevent or reduce undesired effects that can affect the organization

  • Achieve continual improvement, innovation and learning

The same activity will be conducted for the compliance activities and the requirements of the organization’s governance. Both are considered in the following posts.

Presented By:

Robert B. Pojasek,


Chairman, Education and Research Executive Board (EREB)

Managing Director

Center for Corporate Performance & Sustainability

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