Use the sustainable value framework as a business booster

The sustainable value framework helps you set out a sustainability strategy that truly adds value to your business and creates win-win situations.
Sustainable value framework as a business booster

Sustainability-driven business strategy

The stigma that sustainability is expensive is still stereotyped in the tourism industry. Too many tour operators and other tourism businesses still believe that sustainability is costly. That it only costs them money or time without any significant benefits.

Luckily, this is not the case. A sustainability-driven business strategy helps you lengthen the life cycle of your products and services. It also optimises their quality, reduces risks and implements useful technologies. Thereby, it makes you look good, both internally with your employees and externally with your suppliers and customers.

To highlight and explain this, let’s have a look at the sustainable value framework. This framework, developed by Hart & Milstein, helps you set out a sustainability strategy that truly adds value to your business.

Sustainability creates added value

To map the value sustainability adds to a business, Hart and Milstein developed a quadrant that defines how sustainability creates added value. When used and implemented correctly, this framework can help you create a win-win approach, and thereby create sustainable value for your business. Basically, it’s all about making the right business decisions and driving value creation while addressing sustainability challenges.

Sustainable value framework

There are four key dimensions of a sustainability strategy, with several linkages to business performance and value creation.

Sustainable value framework model

1. Managing today’s business internally: pollution prevention

The first dimension focuses on pollution prevention. It includes minimising waste and emissions from your offices and travel operations. Managing these costs and reducing their risks drives value. In terms of sustainability, this means you need to evaluate your current practices. Together with your staff, find out your highest sources of pollution and find ways to reduce waste and use resources more efficiently. By doing this, you can fundamentally reduce your operation costs, boost the engagement of your team, and ensure a cleaner planet.

How to implement sustainable value?

Key to manage today’s business internally is implementing sustainability practices in your internal management. Write internal policies and clear guidelines for your staff members. Make it practical and encourage them to take part. Only then you’re able to make a difference. Focus on your office operators but also on your travel operations.

Read below articles for practical implementation:

2. Managing today’s business externally: product stewardship

The second dimension focuses on product controlling. This entails engaging your supply-chain and managing the cycle of your products. Sustainability means you can differentiate yourself from competitors. But it also means you can offer a more responsible and fair travel experience that benefits your partners, travellers, locals, and the environment.

Working together with your supply-chain and encouraging them to also implement sustainability will help you develop and manage your travel experiences better. Collaborating with other sustainable companies in your value chain creates added value!

How to implement sustainable value?

Key to manage today’s business externally is to work on a sustainable supply chain. To make sure that all partners you work with also commit to sustainability criteria. Thereby, also work together with locals to support the local economy and to add local value to your travel experiences.

Read below articles for practical implementation:

3. Managing tomorrows opportunity internally: clean tech

The third dimension focuses on clean technology and aims to reduce or avoid harm to the environment. For example, with the use of electrical vehicles, solar panels, and wind energy. Key is to keep a low carbon footprint from your office and operations. To manage future opportunities within your business, also improve operational performance and productivity by investing in employee satisfaction.

Look out for trends and new tourism demands, and use them to develop new sustainable skills, products, and services together with your employees.

How to implement sustainable value?

Key to manage tomorrow’s opportunity internally is to keep an eye on relevant trends. Both technological and general tourism trends are important here to develop with the market. Thereby, look into opportunities to make your office more sustainable and to reduce emissions and invest in software to improve your performance and productivity.

Read below articles for practical implementation:

4. Managing tomorrow’s opportunity externally: base of the pyramid

The fourth dimension focuses on the base of the pyramid: the creation of new business practices or travel experiences to support the needs of those underprivileged. When thinking about future business opportunities, keep in mind to benefit the environment, local communities, and wildlife.

Having a clear growth path creates value for your business as your key values will stand strong. The way you work and the type of travel experiences you offer, will not go unnoticed by your partners and travellers.

How to implement sustainable value?

To manage tomorrow’s opportunity externally, create travel experiences that have a positive impact on the planet. Include nature conservation, wildlife protection and local communities in your experiences. Make sure to avoid negative impact and focus on creating a future-proof tourism industry.

Read below articles for practical implementation:

Take action

The sustainable value framework is a great tool to use as a business booster. By implementing recommended best practices per dimension, you can help your business move forward. You’re able to boost your business on an economical, ecological, and social level.

As with all frameworks, not all dimensions or provided tips are relevant for your business. Your challenge is to decide which actions you will implement and how you manage them. You know what works for your business and with the support of the provided tips, you can implement a sustainability-driven business strategy.

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This course guides you through the first steps to become a better tour operator. It teaches you how to run a successful and sustainable business!