Using the Future-Fit Business Benchmark for OKR-Based ESG Initiatives

This is the second blog post of our four-part blog series, written in collaboration with PM2 Consulting’s executive partner – Brett Knowles, covering the application of OKRs to ESG initiatives. 

 

Most ESG frameworks cater to governmental entities and investors, leaving decision-makers in private enterprises at a loss when applying ESG initiatives. As a result, following considerable research and experimentation, PM2 Consulting founded the Future-Fit Business Benchmark (FFBB): a free-to-use framework that enables ESG success using OKRs.

 

With a proven track record of cultivating skilled talent, raising capital, and improving performance across all ESG areas, we propose FFBB as a must-have framework for leaders looking to incorporate sustainable practices into their business operations.  

 

To provide more insight into the FFBB framework, this blog post will cover: 

  • The problems that arise with current ESG frameworks;
  • How the FFBB can assuage these difficulties;
  • The benefits of leveraging the FFBB framework; and
  • How FFBB can support OKR applicability and drive results.

 

The Difficulties of Tackling ESG for Businesses

 

In our previous article discussing ESG, we reviewed the most common ESG frameworks, covering their benefits and highlighting their overall tendency to cater to investors rather than private enterprises. Consequently, there's a general belief that business and GDP growth are the only way to solve sustainability problems. 

 

Yet, growth isn’t always the answer when it comes to sustainability. From an ecological perspective, four types of growth concern us: 

  • Growth in biophysical throughput (how many natural resources we extract and dump back into the environment);
  • Growth in production and consumption (how many goods we create); 
  • Growth in human welfare (how much people's lives improve); and
  • Growth in natural capital (how much we expand Earth's capacity to meet our needs).

 

Solution: The Future-Fit Business Benchmark 

 

Given the inadequacy of ESG frameworks for enterprise purposes, businesses needed a new model to propel them toward sustainable operations. As such, the PM2 Consulting team, with help from Gtmhub, researched and created the Future-Fit Business Benchmark (FFBB).

 

The FFBB is an innovative tool that enables companies to contribute to a more sustainable, just, and inclusive future. It clearly outlines how businesses can become more responsible by highlighting a definite pathway towards the goal destination. 

 

How the Future-Fit Business Benchmark Moves Organizations Toward Sustainability 

 

If you’re working with or inside a business, the Future-Fit Business Benchmark can: 

  • Help you set environmental and social goals that meet the needs of both your business and the wider society.
  • Detail how you can make and measure meaningful progress when pursuing sustainability.
  • Shift the narrative towards the future, emphasizing where your company is going, how it’s getting there, and why this is good for your business and the wider society.

 

Additionally, the FFBB covers the scope of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other prominent frameworks, with its goals and objectives catering to ESG-centric OKRs. More specifically, it covers eight goals that businesses should actively strive towards. These include:  

  1. Energy is renewable and available to all.
  2. Water is responsibly sourced and freely available. 
  3. Natural resources are managed to safeguard communities, animals, and ecosystems. 
  4. The environment is free from pollution. 
  5. Waste does not exist. 
  6. Our physical presence protects the health of ecosystems and communities. 
  7. People have the capacity and opportunity to lead fulfilling lives. 
  8. Social norms, global governance, and economic growth drive the pursuit of future fitness.  

 

This highly researched framework allows you to pinpoint the factors contributing to a sustainable organization. It helps you identify, understand, and explain your business's environmental impact in the context of UN SDGs in a concise, comparable, and measurable way. 

 

Applying the Future-Fit Business Benchmark to Your Organization’s OKRs  

 

To integrate the eight FFBB goals into your organization’s operational activities, you can establish these as objectives. These can look like: 
 

Future-Fit Goal 

Examples of OKR Objectives 

Energy is renewable and available to all 

Energy is produced from renewable sources

Water is responsibly sourced and freely available  

Water use is environmentally responsible and socially equitable

Natural resources are managed to safeguard communities, animals, and ecosystems 

The use of natural resources respects the welfare of ecosystems, people, and animals

Operational emissions do not harm people or the environment

Operations emit no greenhouse gases

Products emit no greenhouse gases

Products do not harm people or the environment

Waste does not exist 

Operational waste is eliminated

Products can be repurposed

Our physical presence protects the health of ecosystems and communities 

Operations do not affect ecosystems or communities

People have the capacity and opportunity to lead fulfilling lives

Community health is safeguarded

Employee health is safeguarded

Employees are paid at least a living wage

Employees are subject to Fair Employment terms

Employees are not subject to discrimination

Employee concerns are actively solicited, impartially judged, and transparently addressed

Product communications are honest, ethical, and promote responsible use

Product concerns are actively solicited, impartially judged, and transparently addressed

Social norms, global governance, and economic growth drive the pursuit of future-fitness

Procurement safeguards pursue future-fitness

Financial assets safeguard the pursuit of future-fitness

Lobbying and advocacy safeguard the pursuit of future-fitness

The right taxes are paid in the right place and at the right time

 

 

During their research phase and collaboration with clients, PM2 Consulting saw that companies using the Future-Fit Business Benchmark experienced significant gains in: 

  • Attracting and retaining great talent; 
  • Engaging employees and raising employee satisfaction; 
  • Improving how organizations were perceived by the communities they operated in; 
  • Performance across their targeted ESG areas; 
  • Stakeholders' achievement of ESG efforts and the benefits derived from these; and
  • Raising capital. 

 

Conclusion

 

While cementing environmentally friendly business operations requires ongoing organizational alignment, the Future-Fit Business Benchmark offers a practical working model for a sustainable future. By using the FFBB goals to inspire your OKR objectives, you can create a clear and measurable "go green" action plan for your organization to stick to, ensuring impactful change both inside and outside your business. 

 

In the following blog post, we'll discuss the Key Results you can use to measure the FFBB Objectives highlighted in this article. 

 

Want to freshen up your knowledge of ESG in the meantime? Download our whitepaper on “Creating Meaningful and Measurable Results in Sustainability

 

Additional Resources