Sustainability Framework for Millipore
Millipore should adopt the Natural Step sustainability framework to strengthen its commitment to sustainability efforts, and further, make them more effective and durable. The framework conceptualizes sustainability from the perspective of nature’s needs, and those of the society, rather than those of running a business. The strategy can enable Millipore to integrate social and environmental considerations into the company’s strategic and daily operations intelligently without affecting its profitability. The company can accomplish these goals using a Sustainability Balanced Scorecard (SBSC) that incorporates environmental and social aspects into its standard Business Scorecard (BSC) perspectives. The company should integrate its sustainability strategy through the company’s strategic business unit, which in this case falls under the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) division.
The company should establish strategic partnerships across its supply chain to ensure most of its operations adhere to sustainability principles. Since most of these products are for resale, the company needs to convince its customers of the importance of using purchasing products having less or no adverse social and environmental impacts. Millipore’s sustainability efforts are riskier and less financially attractive. The best way to reduce such risks to strengthen sustainability efforts is to ensure Millipore’s suppliers and customers are aware of the benefits of sustainability efforts, especially in its social and environmental aspects. The company should first enter into a supply agreement with its customers for which it produces the goods for reselling. Such a strategy is mainly implemented through the marketing strategy, where the company will convince the resellers to purchase products that meet sustainability standards. Millipore will have to enhance its innovative process to avoid transferring the cost of sustainable production down the supply chain. This will be essentially important if the resellers have declined to pay more for products that meet sustainability standards due to the fear of losing customers, as they will have to pay more for the products. In this case, it is evident that Millipore will have two optional approaches for strengthening its sustainability strategy from the customer’s perspective. It will either convince the resellers to pay more for the ‘green products’, or improve its innovative processes to reduce the cost of production. Convincing the resellers to pay more for the product employs a bottom-up approach, where the success of the sustainability efforts will be determined by the goodwill of Millipore’s customers and the product’s end users.
Millipore will have less control over the integration of sustainability strategies if it prefers the bottom-up approach because its success will depend on the resellers and final customer’s willingness to pay more for products meeting sustainability standards, but under a costly production process. These inefficiencies and obstacles can be avoided mainly through using the top-down approach in areas where the company has more authority. The SBSC will be instrumental in achieving this strategy, as it will use a non-market perspective to link the company’s internal process perspectives with the customer’s perspectives. Millipore will have to use quality control purchasing as its key performance driver to strengthen its sustainability efforts. The company should ensure that all its suppliers comply will the company’s sustainability values. For instance, the company should use its purchasing power to ensure that its suppliers comply with the company’s sustainability values that have less financial implications. It should not purchase products from suppliers violating sustainability and ethical principles, for instance, supplies produced using child labor. This will make customers perceive Millipore more positively, hence improving the company’s image and reputation. This will provide Millipore with a competitive advantage over its competitors, thereby reducing the financial risks associated with its sustainability efforts. To counter this competitive advantage, Millipore’s competitors will be forced to comply with the sustainability standards established by Millipore, making the company an industry leader in the adoption of sustainability efforts. Millipore should also purchase products that have been produced through processes that have fewer social and environmental impacts. The company should strive to purchase goods that have the lowest levels of carbon emissions. Its indirect contribution to global climate change can be curbed by emphasizing the supply of products manufactured from recycled materials while reducing those that are made directly from vegetative materials derived from vulnerable ecosystems. The companies should reduce or stop the purchase of products that are based on petroleum. It can achieve this by increasing its demand for materials or products that are easily decomposable after disposal. The establishment of such a foundation will have a multiplier effect on the entire supply chain, and even the entire industry.
Millipore can further strengthen and deepen its sustainability efforts through the establishment of a positive organizational culture that is founded on the ethical principles of sustainability. This will be accomplished through its learning and growth perspective, whose main performance factors include employee’s potentials, technical infrastructure, and the climate for action, such as employee’s health and safety. These performance drivers will improve employee satisfaction at Millipore’s, thereby providing the much-needed energy for driving the sustainability efforts. The Natural Step sustainability framework that is based on SBSC will ensure integration of social and environmental considerations (non-market) into its four standard perspectives, namely, financial, customer, internal process, and learning and growth perspective.