The Organization’s Sustainability Policy

The top leader must establish, implement, and maintain an organizational sustainability policy to provide an effective means to clearly express the organization’s intentions and requirement for managing risk and sustainability. The effectiveness rests on the expression of the organization’s motivation for managing risk and sustainability and explicitly establishing what is required and by whom. The Leader must set the proper tone by emphasizing the necessity of using risk management (from the application of the organization’s context) and organizational sustainability to help manage the opportunities and threats that define the uncertainty within which the organization operates.

Effective communication of the policy also requires confirmation that the information has been understood by the stakeholders within and external to the organization. Stakeholders must believe that the policy reflects the organization’s intent to embrace risk management and sustainability as part of how it operates. To secure appropriate buy-in, the leader will need to produce objective evidence that the organization has adopted changes in the way it has operated prior to the adoption of the sustainability policy, and that those changes are able to persist over time. The organization’s reputation and the credibility of its risk management and sustainability management efforts are dependent on its success in meeting the commitments embodied in the sustainability policy.

The sustainability policy is established, reviewed, and maintained by the leader and the sustainability management team. It must meet the following requirements:

  • Be appropriate to the purpose and context of the organization

  • Provide a framework for setting and reviewing objectives affected by the risk management and sustainability contributions

  • Include a commitment to satisfy all applicable legal and other requirements

  • Include a commitment to effective processes, efficient operations and efficacious strategy

  • Include a commitment to continual improvement, innovation, and learning

  • Be maintained as documented information for the organization

  • Be a key part of the engagement with the external stakeholders.

All reviews of the risk management and sustainability processes begin with the examination of the sustainability policy. It is the keystone element of all activities, processes, decisions, products, and services associated with the organization.

Presented By:

Robert B. Pojasek,


Chairman, Education and Research Executive Board (EREB)

Managing Director

Center for Corporate Performance & Sustainability

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