Operations as a Driver of Change

by Nora Hansanugrum, MBA ‘13 (11/19/11)

Nora Hansanugrum, MBA ‘13

In my exploration into sustainable enterprise, I’ve come to realize that the concept of “sustainable operations” is one of the major drivers for this shift towards a more sustainable economy.

Sustainability has been a growing buzz word for a number of years now, and more recently has been gaining momentum in a variety of industries and across multiple job functions. Being a novice in this world of sustainability has prompted me to conduct massive searches, scouring the Internet for any information I can find on the topic and the trends within the space. In my exploration, I’ve come to realize that the concept of “sustainable operations” is one of the major drivers for this shift towards a more sustainable economy.

The concept of sustainable operations spans all industries and is the larger umbrella encompassing a multitude of functions from manufacturing, to production, to service-based operations.  Companies are beginning to put sustainability in the forefront of their corporate strategies. As a recently released report by Accenture titled, “A New Era of Sustainability” conveys, companies are beginning to take a deeper look at “how they can better incorporate sustainability into daily practice.” The outlook for full integration of sustainability into companies worldwide is presumed to occur within the next 15 years. As more and more consumers begin to seriously consider the social impact of corporate operations, there will indeed be a rapid shift in the primary drivers for sustainability leading to new opportunities as companies seek to capitalize on brand trust, reputation, and loyalty generated by sustainable initiatives.

Accenture’s report (accessible through this link) provides a very in-depth summary of some of the most top-of-mind considerations on sustainability issues facing CEOs at leading companies. The document outlines the key motivations for companies, the changing landscape for sustainability within businesses, the development of sustainable strategies, and the implementation and execution of sustainable initiatives. This report has served as a great foundational resource for me to better understand the varying perspectives around the incorporation of sustainable practices into business operations.

The offerings at Johnson have also provided an overview of the evolving landscape. In the three short months I have been here, I have already opened myself to a whole new world of opportunities in the sustainability space. I am looking forward to exploring these and other topics during the Sustainable Global Enterprise Immersion.   along with the multitude of resources available at the Johnson school, through professional organizations, courses, conferences, speakers, and even from the direct experiences shared by my peers. As trends continue to change and as new game changers enter the market challenging the level of innovation within the sustainability space, it will be interesting to see how the Johnson Class of 2013 will be able to positively impact and contribute to this movement.