Build a sustainability plan 101: identify pilot projects

Know how to start small (and learn)

Rome wasn’t built in a day; neither will your company realize its sustainability goals all at once. Improving your company’s supply chain sustainability will be an iterative process that will need to be tested, measured, corrected and then scaled.

Pilot projects are an essential element of a successful sustainability plan, as they enable you to:

  • Start small, when costs and risks are low.
  • “Fail fast,” so you can course-correct as you go.
  • Eliminate ineffective projects and redirect resources to successful ones.
  • Build confidence and support across the company, including leadership.
  • Communicate progress and/or lessons learned to customers, shareholders and investors.

Identifying potential pilot projects while you’re building your plan will help you “sell” the plan to your “decider” stakeholders, and enable you to have a concrete plan mapped out for your “do-er” stakeholders. Many of the steps are simply micro-versions of much of the work you’ve already done, and include:

EDF Supply Chain Solutions Center
EDF Supply Chain Solutions Center

1. Identify pilot site(s), existing initiatives or projects

Using your LCAs and materiality assessments as a guide, identify core areas of your business and places where you can test your sustainability plan as a proof of concept. Think about which strategies available to you would be easiest to implement for a pilot project.

Refer back to the introductory guides in your interest area(s) for additional ideas: 

Sustainable agriculture

Thriving forests

Safer chemicals

Sustainable energy

Green freight

Zero waste – food

Zero waste – packaging

2. Identify stakeholders

Using a chart similar to the one found in Step 3, Identify key stakeholders, identify who your “decider” and “do-er” stakeholders to execute on the pilot.

EDF Supply Chain Solutions Center
EDF Supply Chain Solutions Center

3. Review goals, metrics, KPIs, timelines; are they relevant here?

Adjust as necessary to fit the specific pilot (but make sure the data will still be relevant to the overall mission/goal).

4. Engage stakeholders and incorporate feedback

Pitch the pilot plan to key stakeholders and make sure they feel that they’ve been heard. Look for patterns in their feedback — be careful not to put too much stock in “outlier” opinions.

5. Present amended pilot plan to stakeholders to gain buy-in

Having buy-in at this early stage will make the pitch of your sustainability plan to “decider” stakeholders much stronger.

Want a deeper dive on identifying pilot projects for your interest area(s)?

Sustainable agriculture

Thriving forests

Green freight

 

 

Continue with: Build a sustainability plan 101: make the business case

EDF Supply Chain Solutions Center
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