Building a Sustainability Business Framework


How a Sustainability Business Framework Aligned the Leadership Team and Accelerated Progress

A Director of Sustainability in a billion + life sciences company was tasked with designing her division’s first sustainability strategic business framework. If successful, the framework would be duplicated and implemented across the enterprise. Key to her success was filtering the vast amounts of materiality data, confirming and prioritizing ongoing sustainability projects around the globe, identifying internal allies, and building a case for change in parallel to the expectations of the senior leadership team.

Having partnered with Brimstone on an Innovation Strategy and Alignment engagement, the client was familiar with Brimstone’s process and outcomes. She knew that by partnering with Brimstone, she would be accelerating and aligning her team and “building the movement” that would cascade across business units to effect change throughout the company.

With such a broad mandate, the leader needed help executing her primary goals:

  • identifying the senior leadership team’s understanding of sustainability
  • prioritizing her team’s goals for the next 18 months
  • capturing and accelerating what was happening under the umbrella of sustainability

Her first task was to understand what the senior leadership team thought about sustainability and collect any information on what types of sustainability initiatives were ongoing. Using diagnostic protocols, Brimstone interviewed various leaders throughout the organization, from plant managers to European sales leaders to the senior leadership team.

The diagnostic protocols identified broad support from the leadership team and rapidly growing support for sustainability internally and externally. However, they also identified that there was wide variability in understanding the term “sustainability,” how it would translate into success for the company, and who would own the process.

After conducting the diagnostic protocols, Brimstone guided the team through a series of meetings to develop a Strategic Business Framework that captured the market realities her company faced and aligned the team with what they would accomplish over the next 18 months. The framework served as the roadmap, clearly identifying key initiatives, ownership, and how they tied into larger company goals.

This process provided the platform for the leader to create an operating model to accelerate the company’s adoption and execution of the sustainability initiatives. This was key to embedding and activating an authentic ESG mindset across the organization.


Within three months, the leader:

  • aligned the senior leadership team on key sustainability priorities to execute
  • accelerated progress on “quick wins” and short-term priorities
  • launched an approach to engaging and involving the broader organization in sustainability strategy execution

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