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6 tips for good sustainable goals, what to consider

We know that formulating goals is a challenge. At the same time, well-formulated objectives are the key to developing an effective action plan. That's why we're sharing our findings from the last three years with over 450 Swiss companies that have honed their individual goal & action plan.

6 tips for good goal formulation

1. Brevity is the spice of life

Don't formulate a line-long prose text with lots of subordinate clauses. Keep it simple and straightforward. This sounds banal, but experience shows that it is actually more difficult than expected.

2. Focus on w-questions

Until WHEN will you do WHAT and HOW will you measure and monitor this success?

Do: By [year], we will achieve [target] [KPI]. [relevant SDGs]

Concrete: By [2025], we will increase [the proportion of renewable or sustainably certified materials in our products] [to 50%][SDG 12].

3. Show off your actions

Use active and present tense formulations for current actions instead of future tense and passive phrasing.

Do: We reduce, we implement, we introduce, we have,...

Don't: We will, we want, it will be achieved,...

4. Timing is everything

Align your time horizon with your corporate strategy to make the action plan an integral part of it.

Do: Plan a standardised time horizon if possible

Don't: Mention short, medium and long-term goals and measures in the wording

5. This is greek to me

Technical terms are important for specific measures, but the goals should reflect your ambitions in a way that your customers can understand. Therefore, use mainly everyday vocabulary and formulate measures as concretely as possible.

Do: By 2025, we will source 60% of our purchasing volume from suppliers that have been audited for social and environmental criteria.

Don't: By 2025, we will source 60% of our purchasing volume from suppliers that comply with the ten axioms of the International Labour Organization.

6. Climate neutrality: yes or no?

Even if CO2 emissions are offset, we do not recommend wording that promises climate neutrality - as this is often perceived as misleading. Instead, we recommend formulations with a clear CO2 reduction and, if possible, with validation of the Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

Do: IWB: By 2030, we reduce our tCO2eq emissions by 45% (Scope 1, 2 & 3) compared to 2021, according to our validated SBTi target in 2023.

Don't: By 2050, our entire production is climate neutral.

Need inspiration and best practices? See 300+ real examples in our

And finally: Present the formulations to some colleagues who are not involved in the development of the action plan. Do they understand the goals without asking?

Tip: Use our self-check document for more examples, tips and guidelines and take a look at the freely available STI directory.

If you have any questions, please contact Caroline Fourré

Want to be part of the STI community and commit to pledges that are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals?

Register here for one of the next dates of our

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