For many products-led organizations, prioritizing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) activities, and thus sustainability initiatives, is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have.
54% of consumers will only do business with companies that practice environmental and social sustainability. The current sustainability movement is primarily driven by customer perceived value — and 63% of executives agree that customers are their most important catalyst for action.
Sustainability in Product Development is Dual Purposed
There are two sides to the sustainability coin in portfolio management. Organizations with ESG initiatives must come through on their promise to prioritize minimizing their environmental impact. They also need to ensure that the products they prioritize and their means of development align with the initiatives fueling their corporate sustainability strategy.
It is a constant balancing act that requires constant vigilance. Stumbling in the wrong direction can mean significant brand and organizational setbacks.
Without standardized and measurable processes for integrating sustainability, the initiative can end up being relegated to a fragmented and reactive approach with ad hoc initiatives that do not align with corporate strategy. This challenge can be proportionate with the organization’s size and the depth and breadth of its product portfolios.
Organizations with large and complex product portfolios that all must adhere to specific sustainability standards can often need help to wrangle vast, various data sets clearly and consistently. Plus, consumer behavior and interests in “green initiatives” regularly fluctuate and can be hard to predict. This makes it difficult for organizations to balance and prioritize resources while adjusting their portfolio appropriately.
Unsurprisingly, technology and software investments are proven to minimize the effort required to connect sustainability strategies with execution. By adding consistency and standardization to crucial points in project and product portfolio management, organizations can remain focused and committed to internal and external sustainability initiatives.
In a recent webinar with Cargill, one of the world’s most trusted food corporations for more than 155 years, they shared how an investment in product portfolio management technology helped them champion long-term sustainability.
Cargill: Sustainability Through Efficient Product Portfolio Management
For the past ten years, Cargill has undergone a digital transformation that has enabled them to use sustainability as a foundational building block for value-added innovations.
Before implementing a single, conclusive portfolio management solution, Cargill had to manage thousands of global projects across 70+ portfolios and dozens of varying technologies. It took great effort for them to accurately measure and drive execution, financial accountability, or report on sustainability efforts.
How did Cargill simplify this task? By instituting a platform that enabled them to create a standardized approach to clarifying the connections between portfolio management best practices and sustainability.
When change does occur — in materials, packing, technology, sustainability, and regulatory requirements — they can proceed with confidence, having visibility into the potential impact change may have on projects and products within their portfolio. In addition to streamlining the entire approval process and thereby reducing cycle time, improved visibility also helps them:
- Classify and rank specific products tied to sustainability initiatives
- Reduce internal waste (e.g., time and human resources)
- Improve and optimize material and supply chain management with fewer emissions
Their portfolio management platform also acts as an organizational hub for Cargill’s Center of Excellence, enabling them to capture and communicate crucial information, ensuring that sustainability remains a prevalent and considered characteristic of their various products offered worldwide.
During the webinar, Cargill elaborated on the three ways Planview’s portfolio management platform enables them to connect strategy to execution and core values.
- Defining Sustainability Initiatives
Cargill needed to ensure that their projects and products considered aspects of sustainability that they found most important for them and their customers. These include climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, land use and deforestation, and water. By prioritizing and elevating these aspects across the portfolio, Cargill could ensure each product supported the right sustainability initiatives and link them with supply chain and operations decisions crucial for success.
- Sustainable Processes for Sustainable Products
To simplify and standardize measurements and data to be analyzed for each product across their portfolio, Cargill requires the following:
- A uniform template for every product and project to generate consistent data and support the reviews processes
- Portfolio visualization to identify areas of sustainability for each impacted product and project, speeding the review process
- Global dashboards that offer a high-level overview of every product, its status, and its impact, which help teams predict the changes to the initiative pipeline
3. Digging Deeper into the Sustainability Value
With the above standardization, Cargill can unlock the value of a specific project or product as it relates to its sustainability initiative, giving them access to forecasts and scenario modeling that account for any change. They’re able to answer essential questions like:
- How much effort will it require? Will that effort impact the progress of other products?
- What is the scope for the team?
- What will the manufacturing energy consumption be for 5 to 10 years?
- Will the product impact the company’s sustainability initiatives, and how? What will the area of impact, financial impact, and sustainability score be?
The example of Cargill clearly illustrates how sustainable, repeatable processes in portfolio management are vital to ensuring core values are aligned with defined strategies.
Watch the entire on-demand webinar to learn more about Cargill’s transformative journey with Planview’s product portfolio management solution.