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This Earth Day, Embrace Change and Adapt 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the perspectives of IIBA.
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“This we know: the earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth” — Chief Seattle, 1854 
If you’ve ever walked down an urban (or suburban) street and despaired at the amount of plastic on the ground, April 22 should fill you with some hope.  
Earth Day 2024 is a global mobilization effort centred around the "Planet vs. Plastics" theme. It aims to build awareness of plastic's health hazards, push for a robust UN plastic treaty, and drive collective action to reduce plastic production and pollution worldwide. 
Targeting a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040, the campaign urges individuals, businesses, governments, and the private sector to join forces in safeguarding the planet from plastic pollution. It encourages us to take proactive steps like reducing plastic use, supporting sustainable alternatives, and advocating for policy changes. 
To meet these goals and progress in our fight against pollution and other environmental crises, we must first be able to embrace change and adapt. Change is an inevitable part of life. It can be difficult, scary, and even overwhelming at times. But it’s a necessary ingredient for businesses (and the people who lead them) that want to prioritize sustainability.  

Business Analysis for Sustainability

At IIBA’s last Global Business Analysis Day event, Prassede Colombo led a session on this topic titled Sustainable Business Analysis: Why, What, How. In it, she discusses the importance of embracing change and shares tips on how to adapt to new situations.

If you didn’t get a chance to watch it, the recording is available here.

Business analysis plays a pivotal role in every organization’s sustainability journey. Below are just some of the ways business analysis professionals can help them operate more sustainably across their strategy, design, execution, and performance management practices:

  • Analyzing processes to identify opportunities for reducing waste, energy consumption, and environmental impact
  • Eliciting and analyzing requirements for sustainable product/service design
  • Evaluating sustainability impacts and trade-offs of solution options
  • Defining metrics and KPIs to measure and monitor sustainability performance
  • Facilitating stakeholder collaboration on sustainability initiatives
  • Mapping information flows for traceability and transparency
As Prassede herself puts it: “Business analysis competencies are key to be change actors for sustainability.”
Maintaining resilience and optimism amid change is paramount. While it's normal to experience anxiety or uncertainty in novel situations, fostering a positive outlook and trusting in our capacity to adapt empowers us to confront challenges head-on.

Through unwavering determination, we can confidently navigate the ebb and flow of change, emerging stronger and more capable on the other side.

Sustainability Is Essential for Success

Once a luxury, embracing sustainability is now a business imperative. Today, it goes beyond just preserving resources; it's about meeting current needs without compromising the future. This shift requires a change in mindset, values, and behaviours to create value for people, the planet, and prosperity.

No big deal, right? As challenging as that sounds, sustainability is a cornerstone of long-term success—so it’s well worth the investment.

Companies committed to sustainability attract investors, cut costs, boost efficiency, and tap into new markets (in addition to helping the planet). With consumers increasingly demanding sustainable business practices, aligning with eco-friendly practices is vital to staying competitive.

To achieve sustainability, it must be woven into the fabric of your organization’s purpose. That means rethinking business models, fostering a culture of sustainability, and actively pursuing eco-friendly initiatives.

A Strategic Imperative

Business analysis professionals are pivotal on this journey as they’re uniquely equipped to analyze needs, stakeholders, and solutions to generate measurable environmental, social, and economic value.

Aligning project management and business analysis with sustainability goals is a perfect synergy. By defining sustainability metrics and monitoring progress, business analysis professionals and project managers can help drive sustainable outcomes.

In one example from 2020, a transportation company used business data analytics to evaluate whether it could shift freight from trucks to rail. The analysis considered shipment demand, routes, and capital investments required, among other factors. By moving freight to the more fuel-efficient rail mode where feasible, the company could reduce its environmental impact through lower fuel consumption and emissions.

But sustainability is also a corporate responsibility. Integrating it into strategies, operations, and projects creates value for stakeholders and paves the way for a sustainable future, whether that involves a drastic reduction in plastics or an increase in renewable energy sources (or both).

In the right environment, business analysis professionals can lead the charge for positive change.

Read more business analysis and sustainability stories here.

Act Now with Values

Given the looming deadlines for achieving key sustainability goals, aligning actions with values is an urgent need. Prioritizing values such as care for people, the planet, and prosperity is essential for businesses across all operations.

And while it’s the responsibility of business owners to push the needle toward a sustainable future, we all play an important role. Microsoft Vice President Brad Smith recently emphasized the importance of cooperation and collective action in addressing sustainability challenges. And it’s a crucial point in the sustainability discussion.

You alone can’t resolve complex environmental issues. To achieve meaningful progress, we must work effectively together to change how businesses approach sustainability. After all, this is change management on a grander scale than we’ve ever seen before.

Join the sustainability community in your area and become of agent of change in your organization, whatever that looks like. If you're an IIBA member who wants to explore sustainability further, check out IIBA’s online library for a wealth of books on this topic. The online library features a collection of more than 11,000 professional development books on business analysis and related topics.

Supporting you means supporting your organization’s role in addressing the climate crisis. Become an IIBA member to start driving better business outcomes, today.

About the Author
Author (3).jpg

Tiffani Iacolino is a Senior Manager,  Product Marketing at IIBA and has over 15 years of marketing experience across the legal, technology, telecommunications, publishing, media, and professional services industries. She’s passionate about delivering meaningful products and solutions to the business analysis community. Hailing from the Greater Toronto Area, she enjoys an amazing cup of coffee, running, and yoga—between chasing her two adorable children!   

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