Building a business plan for environmental responsibility

The purpose of an organisation's business plan is to provide a blue print, a way forward for the organisation which establishes goals to be achieved and strategies to be undertaken to meet those gaols.

Business plans may differ from organisation to organisations but most will contain sections on:

Business profile which describes the history and nature of the business and states the key objectives to be achieved

Marketing strategy which identifies key products and services provided by the organisation, the marketing strategy of the organisation and the market segment(s) at which the marketing strategy is aimed

Purchasing including purchasing policies, product and service specification and selection of suppliers

Personnel which may include the organisation structure and key personnel and their responsibilities

Operations of the organisation including key processes and responsibilities

Most traditional business plans mention the environment. But the environment they mention is the business environment. In some plans you may find a brief mention in the operational aspects of the business plan the organisation responsibility for the natural environment.

When we talk, of the natural environment we mean topographical features, the presence of water, and different types of soil, the climate of an area and the habitat of an area. The biotic elements of a local environment include the type of vegetation in an area, the different plant communities, animal species and types of fauna and flora.

The physical biotic elements of an environment will often impact on the use of a particular geographic area. With each element, we need to be mindful of how we treat them as they can impact on the long-term usefulness of a geographic location. The following list describes aspect of the natural environment.

Physical Environment- This is the environment of nature including such aspects as topography, climate and soil types

Biotic elements- This is the flora and fauna supported by the physical environment

Typographical features- Landform and features

Flora- Plants of a particular area

Fauna –Animals of a particular area

Fauna Habitat- Specific terrain in which fauna live

The role of organisations has become more complex. Organisations responsible to owners to produce profits, to customers to provide appropriate products and services and the government at all levels for regulation and payment of taxes. Organisations now have responsibility to the community in which they operate that includes their responsibility for the natural environment on which their operations may impact.

Examples of the inclusion of references is to environmental sustainability in the business plans of an organisation appear below.

  • Goals
    Prevent accidental or deliberate actions that can cause environmental damage
  • Personnel
    Employ staff that are well versed in and respectful of local culture and environments
  • Suppliers
    Support suppliers that have a conservation ethic
  • Operations
    Donate a share of business profits to causes that are complementary to the goals of the business (conservation, wetlands protection and the like) 

1. Quotations on this page from Mackenzie, R, and The Business of Nature Based Tourism, Hospitality Press, 1998 Pages 188 and 189