Businesses and organizations of all sizes should build strategic partnerships to further their sustainability efforts. Strategic partnerships are typically a formal relationship between one or more separate entities to take advantage of their combined expertise. This section features examples, guidelines, and links to help you know if a strategic partnership could help you reach your sustainability goals.
Step One: Open Mind
Every business is unique and will grow in a different way. If you are considering a green project within your business, improving your processes to be more sustainable and efficient, or are building a green team, the chances are someone else has done it, can offer advice and can get you from A to B with much less blood, sweat and tears. Keep an open mind to be sure you capture partnerships with other businesses that present opportunities for synergy, win-win situations and mutual benefit.
Where to Start
Professional organizations: The Green Chamber of the South and Southeast Green are organizations uniquely designed to bring people together who share the common goal and interest in creating sustainable, green business. Finding a strategic partner for your business starts with these.
Networking events: Green Wednesdays, Green Drinks and countless other events in your area provide face-to-face time with potential strategic partners.
Two organizations, The Living Principles and The Emergent Structures Project, both have spurred the collaboration of commonly-interested people to make change in a positive direction. The Living Principles is a website used to co-create, share and showcase the best practices, tools, stories and ideas for enabling sustainable action across design principles. They offer three levels of engagement in the process and much can be learned from the inspiring partnerships they have been able to create.
The Emergent Structures Project was created out of a dire need "for a holistic, equitable, and environmentally sound strategy for deconstructing America’s unwanted building stock." The result is a collaboration of non-profit organizations, government agencies, private companies and community organizations as well as "local craftsmen, carpenters, furniture makers, and at-risk youth apprenticeship programs and other green job development and incubation projects." If you at all doubt the power of collaboration, visit these sites and prepare to be inspired.
Contemporary Strategy Analysis by Robert M. Grant
From Amazon: "Considered by many to be the best textbook on Strategy, Contemporary Strategy Analysis 7th edition builds on the strengths of previous editions by introducing... core concepts and principles of strategy. Rob Grant eloquently combines theory with current real world examples and practice using a clearly written, logical and comprehensive approach."
Sustainability Partnerships: The Manager's Handbook by Steger, Salzmann, Ionescu-Somers, and Mansourian
From Amazon: "Social and environmental issues can be very complex and overwhelming for managers. A partnership seems like an obvious solution. But what type of partnership is appropriate, what are the pitfalls and how can they be overcome? The authors use the experiences of a number of experts in companies, NGOs and governmental bodies to find the answers."
If you would like to contribute to this section or tell us about what has and has not worked with your strategic partnerships, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.