Drive
Change

With The
Leading Forward Roadmap

Support Local Communities

Reduce Carbon Emissions
Advance Equity

About the Leading Forward Roadmap

The crises of 2020 presented challenges few businesses could have foreseen. Yet organizations that prioritized environmental, social, and governance performance have tended to weather the shocks and stressors with greatest resilience.

These companies have reduced their exposure to operational risk and sought out suppliers that do the same. They have cultivated diverse perspectives internally and supported the communities they serve. In doing so, they have fostered innovation, reduced costs, and tapped new opportunities.

As business leaders committed to sustainable business practices, CEOs for Sustainability sees an opportunity for all organizations to reap the same advantages. That’s why this business network, hosted by Sustainable Pittsburgh, calls on the region’s workplaces to take actions vital to supporting a sustainable recovery that works for all:

  • supporting local communities and businesses through the pandemic crisis, 
  • advancing racial and ethnic equity through their own business operations, and 
  • reducing their companies’ carbon footprint. 

To make these priorities as actionable as possible for the Pittsburgh business community, Sustainable Pittsburgh, CEOs for Sustainability, and the CEOs for Sustainability Advisory Committee collaboratively developed the Leading Forward Commitments illustrated below:

storefront icon

Establish a policy to prioritize local suppliers or otherwise support local communities through 2021

handshake icon

Establish a strategy to advance racial and ethnic equity in hiring, development, and advancement of diverse talent, and via diversification of the supply chain

leaf icon

Establish a strategy to reduce carbon emissions associated with business operations and model

This roadmap is designed to provide a strategic framework for business action on the CEOs for Sustainability Baseline Commitments. Each of the three sections of this roadmap corresponds to one of these priority areas and contains strategic steps, customizable tools, and regional resources to support “leading forward” on a sustainable economic recovery for all.

Visit this page often as Sustainable Pittsburgh continues to add tools, templates, and local/industry resources designed to help your company lead forward! 

Questions? Contact Sustainable Pittsburgh at info@SustainablePittsburgh.org

Supporting Local

This section of the Leading Forward Roadmap is designed to provide actions that companies can take to support local communities and businesses through the pandemic crisis. Please refer to the lists of actions below that your company can consider taking to support local communities and economies. 

Local spend actions

  • Provide discounts to employees to shop at local businesses. Find Sustainable Pittsburgh Shops here.
  • Order food for an event from local providers. Find Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants here.
  • Purchase employee gifts from local businesses. Find Sustainable Pittsburgh Shops here.
  • Source services, materials, and supplies from regional sources as available 

Gift & donation actions 

  • Donate unneeded or surplus materials and items to local businesses and organizations
  • Implement an employee gift matching policy
  • Donate to charitable foundations and/or businesses within the region
  • Sponsor local sustainability or social equity organizations or campaigns
  • Participate in regional philanthropic activities
  • Solicit financial contributions from the public and private sectors in support of sustainability efforts that benefit local businesses 

Policy & civic engagement actions

  • Ensure that employees can vote on election day
  • Encourage employees to run for public office in their communities
  • Advocate for sustainable policies locally and regionally

Community & economic development actions 

  • Fund, host, or participate in community skill-shares
  • Institute an employee volunteer policy and/or paid time off for volunteering
  • Consult with local government, other businesses, and community stakeholder groups to assess community interests and needs related to business activities
  • Consider the ROI of any given recovery initiative, not only in terms of jobs but in terms of durable jobs, resilient communities, etc.
  • Participate in the Allegheny Conference Neighborhood Assistance Program

Advancing Racial
and Ethnic Equity

Phase 1: Engage & Assess

Phase 1 is designed to help you gather the people and information you need to evaluate your company’s racial and ethnic equity and strategically assess opportunities to advance performance in this area through hiring and development practices, culture, and supplier engagement. First, you will assemble an internal strategy team and identify stakeholders who can lead and support your organization’s work in this area. Following this, you will assess your company’s racial and ethnic equity performance and identify what related risks and opportunities equity issues pose to your business.

Step 1: Create a strategy team to advance racial and ethnic equity 

Use this tool from Sustainable Pittsburgh to help create a strategy team to advance racial and ethnic equity. 

Step 2: Identify and engage stakeholders

Use this tool from Sustainable Pittsburgh to help you identify and engage your stakeholders 

Step 3: Assess current racial equity performance 

Use this tool from Sustainable Pittsburgh to help you develop and execute a racial equity assessment strategy.

Phase 2: Commit & Plan

This section of the Leading Forward Roadmap is designed to help you set and implement goals related to advancing racial and ethnic equity. First, set racial and ethnic equity goals by either adopting the CEOs for Sustainability Baseline Commitments or designing goals specific to your organization. Next, use Sustainable Pittsburgh’s action prioritization tool to identify relevant actions your organization has already taken towards these goals and rate other possible actions categorized at “foundational,” “engaged,” or “transformational” levels of impact. You will rate these possible actions along axes of high-to-low challenge for your organization to complete and high-to-low relevance to the risks and opportunities posed to your business by current racial equity performance that you identified in the previous phase of this roadmap. 

Third, participants will create a plan to implement and monitor their top-priority actions. Action plans can be created at a “foundational,” “engaged,” or “transformational” level of impact. Foundational action plans include at least 10 total actions, the highest percentage of which are at a “foundational” tier. Engaged action plans at least 15 total actions, the highest percentage of which are at an “engaged” tier. Transformational action plans include at least 20 total actions, the highest percentage of which are at a “transformational” tier.

Step 4: Establish racial equity goals

Option A: Adopt the CEOs for Sustainability Baseline  Commitments. Find Transformational-level sample goals here

Step 5: Explore & prioritize actions to achieve racial equity advancement

Use this tool to explore and prioritize actions your company can take to advance racial equity.

See these local and industry resources for assistance completing these actions.

Step 6: Create an action plan to achieve your racial and ethnic equity goals 

Use this template from Sustainable Pittsburgh to create an action plan to achieve your goals

Phase 3: Perform & Disclose 

Now that you have created a strategic plan for advancing racial and ethnic equity  in your business, implement your plan and share your progress!

Step 7: Implement and monitor your action plan!

Use the action plan you developed in Step 7 to take action on promoting equity in your organization! Track your progress against your baseline assessment to see your progress.

Step 8: Share your progress

Share your progress internally and through voluntary external reporting networks!

Reducing Carbon Emissions

Phase 1: Engage & Assess

Phase 1 is designed to help you gather the people and information you need to strategically evaluate your company’s carbon emissions and assess opportunities to reduce them. First, you will assemble an internal strategy team and identify stakeholders who can lead and support your organization’s work in this area. Following this, you will assess your company’s carbon emissions and identify what risks and opportunities climate change poses to your business.

Step 1: Create a strategy team to advance carbon emission reduction 

Use this tool from Sustainable Pittsburgh to help create a strategy team to advance carbon emission reduction. 

Step 2: Identify and engage stakeholders 

Use this tool from Sustainable Pittsburgh to help you identify and engage your stakeholders. 

Step 3: Assess your current carbon emissions

Refer to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for the industry standard on baselining greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Look out for upcoming Sustainable Pittsburgh webinars and workshops to help guide you through the Greenhouse Gas Protocol process! To learn about these opportunities sign up for our SPI newsletter here.

Phase 2: Commit & Plan

This section of the Leading Forward Roadmap is designed to help you set, track, and advance goals related to carbon reduction. First,  set carbon reduction goals by either adopting the CEOs for Sustainability Baseline Commitments or self-designing your own goals. Next, use Sustainable Pittsburgh’s action prioritization tool to identify relevant actions your organization has already taken towards these goals and rate other possible actions categorized at “foundational,” “engaged,” or “transformational” levels of impact. You will rate these possible actions along axes of high-to-low challenge for your organization to complete and high-to-low relevance to the risks and opportunities posed to your business by climate change that you identified in the previous phase of this roadmap. 

Third, participants will create a plan to implement and monitor their top-priority actions. Action plans can be created at a “foundational,” “engaged,” or “transformational” level of impact. Foundational action plans include at least 10 total actions, the highest percentage of which are at a “foundational” tier. Engaged action plans at least 15 total actions, the highest percentage of which are at an “engaged” tier. Transformational action plans include at least 20 total actions, the highest percentage of which are at a “transformational” tier. 

Step 4: Establish carbon reduction goals

Option A: Adopt the CEOs for Sustainability Baseline  Commitments. Find Transformational-level sample goals here.

Option B: Develop your own self-designed goals informed by your company’s baseline performance, stakeholder interests, material issues, and other sustainability priorities.

Step 5: Explore & prioritize actions to achieve carbon reduction

Use this tool from Sustainable Pittsburgh to explore and prioritize actions your company can take to reduce carbon emissions.

See these local and industry resources for assistance completing these actions.

Step 6: Create an action plan to achieve carbon reduction 

Use this template from Sustainable Pittsburgh to create an action plan to achieve your carbon reduction goals

Phase 3: Perform & Disclose 

Now that you have created a strategic plan for reducing carbon in your business, implement your plan and share your progress!

Step 7: Implement and monitor your action plan!

Use the action plan you developed in Step 7 to take action on reducing carbon emissions! Track your progress against your baseline assessment to see your progress.

Step 8: Share your progress 

Use these voluntary public disclosure frameworks to share your progress!

Share Your Commitment With Us!

We'd love to hear from you! Please share your goals to lead forward in racial and ethnic equity, carbon emissions reduction, and local support. All answers will be confidential and for internal use only.
Back to Top