Sustainability Plans

What It Is

Sustainability plans are plans developed by an organization or government to achieve goals that foster environmental, community, and financial sustainability. These plans set goals that are particular to the organization in question. The plan will also establish guidelines for achieving and measuring the impact of these objectives.

Muni-Fed Energy will work within the quidelines of EPA's definition of sustainability, and will emphasize the environmental dimensions of sustainability plans. Other uses of the term "sustainability plan" may emphasize financial sustainability rather than environmental sustainability.

Sustainability, as defined by the EPA: "Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations."

Why It Matters

Sustainability plans create a template for creating and implementing sustainability goals and measures. This plan will allow you to formalize and solidify what sustainability will look like at your organization. Having a plan will signal an organizational level– rather than individual– commitment to environmental issues.

The plan gives form to the organization's commitment to the environment through the creation of goals, guidelines, timelines, and standards for measuring and reporting on sustainability goals.

Every organization is different, and so your goals and implementation will necessarily be tailored to your particular organization. Your goals should reflect the kind of work your organization performs. For instance, a vegetable processing company might find that they could make the biggest environmental and financial impact by reducing their water usage. This same goal would make less sense for a clothes retailer, who might instead focus on sourcing sustainable and ethically produced merchandise.

Similarly, your steps and timelines for meeting your goals should match the personnel and financial resources of your organization. While many sustainability measures will yield cost savings over time, they may require up-front funding that does not make sense for your organization in the near future. These goals might still be included, but will have a longer timeline and greater attention to financial impacts.

The measurement dimension of your plan should provide a way to account for the financial, environmental, and community impacts of the changes your organization undertakes. This will ensure that your environmental goals are also sustainable in the holistic sense of the word. These measurements will also provide content for reporting on the implementation of the plan to your stakeholders.


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