Get 70% off Zuno Carbon for a limited time

Building your sustainability roadmap: examples and strategies for business success

March 13, 2024

Table of Contents

With the changing corporate landscape, sustainability is no longer an option—it's imperative. But amidst all the initiatives and options, how do you determine the right path? This is where a sustainability roadmap comes in. Organization-wide sustainability roadmapping brings business goals front and center for everyone to understand and act on.

Join us as we help you navigate your sustainability journey with the help of a clear roadmap. We will also share some tips and sustainability roadmap examples to help you develop a future-ready sustainability strategy.

What is a sustainability roadmap and why is it important?

A sustainability roadmap is a strategic plan that clearly explains an organization's sustainability journey. It's a long-term vision which guides the organization to achieve its sustainability objectives. The sustainability plan for decarbonization provides an opportunity to measure the organization's progress toward its sustainability and ESG-related goals. It also enables the organization to adjust as new requirements and insights emerge.

A robust roadmap is essential as it guides the organization and ensures its commitment to overcoming sustainability-related challenges for its stakeholders. It translates your vision into an action plan and is a flexible tool that enables you to modify your strategies according to external and internal changes.

Let's move on to understand how it differs from your sustainability strategy.

How is a sustainability roadmap different from a sustainability strategy?

A sustainability strategy and a roadmap are closely related but they do differ in their purpose. A sustainability strategy is the plan, and the roadmap is the detailed route to reach your destination.

Sustainability strategy vs roadmap summary

3 sustainability roadmap examples to take inspiration from

There are many brands and companies who are making good progress on their sustainability journey, fighting climate change and facing environmental issues head-on. Here are three sustainability roadmap examples that you can learn from.


Man running in patagonia clothing

This sustainable outdoor clothing brand is known for its unwavering commitment to sustainability. Patagonia opts for a circular supply chain to design products with prolonged life cycles. It also has ‘Worn Wear’ repair hubs that encourage consumers to repair items rather than buy new ones. Apart from this, it runs various initiatives supporting corporate accountability and a circular strategy.

“We’re in business to save our home planet.”

– Patagonia Mission Statement

Patagonia commits to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain by 2040 as a part of its sustainability plan. It has a robust target-setting and validation process to focus its efforts.


nike running trainers

Nike is actively engaged in promoting sustainability and ethical practices in its entire supply chain operations. It designs its products to last longer. Its “Nike Grind” program transforms manufacturing scrap and end-of-life shoes into recycled materials used in various products, including sports surfaces, apparel, and footwear.

Nike’s sustainability roadmap lays down it’s sustainability targets, including using more efficient materials and reusing existing plastics, yarns, and textiles. Its "Move to Zero" is a key strategy to achieve zero carbon and zero waste.

Move to zero is Nike’s journey toward zero carbon and zero waste, helping to protect the future of sport.


 Better Places

responsible tourism

Better Places is an innovative tour operator focusing on creating meaningful and responsible travel experiences. The company aims to promote responsible travel, minimize the environmental footprint of travel activities, support local economies, and foster cultural understanding.

The company offers tailor-made travel experiences that conserve each destination’s natural heritage, respect socio-cultural authenticity, and positively impact local communities per the UN General Counsel’s recommendations for sustainable tourism. Additionally, they also provide you with advice on the most environmentally friendly flights.

“Our vision is to develop and promote authentic and unique travel experiences which will bring the greatest possible benefit to all stakeholders – travellers, the host population and the local tourism businesses and entrepreneurs, whilst minimising our environmental impact and respecting the people and cultures in our destinations.”

Better Places

Better Places’ Climate Action Plan aims to reduce their CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030. As a part of its sustainability roadmap, it set practical goals to work towards a sustainable tourism sector.

How to create a sustainability roadmap

Creating a sustainability roadmap is not one person’s job. It should outline the input and involvement of key stakeholders across your organization. A diligent participation of all stakeholders ensures careful planning and alignment of your roadmap with your overall sustainability strategy. Here are six crucial steps to building an environmental sustainability roadmap that aligns with your business goals and fosters profitability.

Sustainability roadmap template

1. Define your goals

The goals laid out in your sustainability strategy can help guide your roadmap by providing direction and purpose. Reviewing these goals can help organizations focus on specific outcomes and demonstrate their commitment to making a positive impact. Ask yourself these questions to define what exactly you want to achieve:

●     What does sustainability look like for you?

●     What are the key ESG (environmental, social, governance) issues relevant to your organization?

●     Will your profitability be affected?

●     What is the long-term/short-term objective?

●     Can you achieve these goals in a realistic timeframe?

Pro tip

Ensure that you set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals.

2. Identify KPIs to track your goals

Measuring the success of your efforts is as important as setting the goals in the first place. Key performance indicators (KPIs) help you track your sustainability progress towards reducing environmental impact.The KPIs you select should align with your sustainability goals. For instance,

If your goal is to reduce carbon emissions, there are three metrics, among others, that you should measure and track:

1. Sustainability targets

2. Carbon footprint (from scope 1, 2 & 3 data)

3. Carbon intensity

If you aim to promote renewable energy use across your company’s operations, you should measure:

1. Energy intensity

2. Total energy usage

3. Renewable energy use

If you aim to reduce waste, you should keep a track of these metrics:

1. Total waste produced

2. Hazardous waste management

3. Waste diversion rate (i.e the waste diverted from landfill or incineration)

Pro tip

The above metrics offer a roadmap for your sustainability plan for decarbonization. However, the reliability and usefulness of these metrics depend on the accuracy and quality of the data. Leverage data-driven insights to ensure your sustainability plan is based on sound and reliable information.

3. Plan your financials

Financial planning is a key part of your roadmap. Contrary to the belief that sustainability comes at a loss, IBM research has shown sustainability can positively affect revenue growth. Focused leadership coupled with a robust financial plan often lead to cost savings. In addition, sustainability initiatives can attract a loyal customer base and encourage investment, ultimately boosting profitability.

Create a detailed financial roadmap that outlines your expected revenue, expenses, and cash flow. Plan the implementation costs and ROI projections, and seek potential funding, grants, or incentives for your sustainability initiatives.

Pro tip

Use zero-based budgeting. Justify every expense from scratch, rather than basing it on previous budgets or assumptions. Allocate your resources to the most impactful and strategic activities.

4. Engage stakeholders

Sustainability is a collaborative affair. Connect with your stakeholders and communicate your sustainability goals and accomplishments.

Your stakeholders—customers, suppliers, investors, and the community can offer valuable insights, creative concepts, and even potential financial backing for your sustainability projects. Keeping everyone engaged fosters trust, cultivates a shared sense of responsibility, and increases your organization's overall impact.

Pro tip

Ensure that you gain buy-in from all stakeholders so they’re committed to creating a sustainability roadmap and have a sense of ownership to ensure progression.

5. Map your sustainability roadmap

The success of your roadmap highly depends upon the supporters and the right project team in place. Multiple teams often need to be involved in creating a sustainability roadmap. You need to identify the“deciders” (who greenlight the project) and the “do-ers” (who accomplish the project) and align clear roles and responsibilities. This ensures better cross-functional collaboration and a shared commitment to sustainability across the organization.

Pro tip:

Build and define an optimal ESG team structure based on your company's size, industry, and strategic priorities. Assign clear responsibilities for each goal and establish accountability to ensure that individuals or teams are accountable for the success of specific initiatives.

6. Launch the sustainability roadmap

Your roadmap launch should be accompanied by a detailed rollout plan. This plan should outline how your green initiatives will be executed and how you will record the progress in auditing reports.

Ensure that the goals and plan are communicated to all employees and stakeholders. They should know the objectives, policies, and progress toward the established targets.

Pro tip

Conduct a company-wide launch meeting so everyone in the organization knows the detailed project plans for your green initiatives.

7. Continuous measurement

Your journey to creating a sustainability roadmap doesn't end here. You need to monitor and evaluate your progress and be willing to adjust and correct your course as needed. This involves tracking your KPIs, conducting regular sustainability audits, and reporting progress to all stakeholders.

Zuno Carbon, a dedicated end-to-end ESG platform, can help you calculate and measure your KPIs. It empowers you with the right insights to set your sustainability goals and tailor your action plan to achieve those.

Pro tip

Your sustainability roadmap will often change over time to accommodate new regulations or evolving stakeholder and investor interests. Be prepared to reassess its roadmap on a regular basis.

Roadmap your way to success with Zuno Carbon

A sustainability roadmap is a great way to communicate the strategic intent of your company-wide ESG goals. Developing a practical sustainability roadmap requires more than your intuition and vision. Although these elements are crucial, equally important for a practical roadmap will be evidence, real-world ESG data, and a scientific approach to analyzing that data.

Zuno Carbon provides data-driven insights into your carbon emissions. Clear visibility into your ESG data provides support and helps with goal setting within your organization. Book a demo to learn how to utilize Zuno Carbon’s Veridis platform for your sustainability roadmap.

book a demo with Zuno Carbon

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When should you create a sustainability roadmap?

The right time to create a sustainability roadmap is after you’ve outlined your sustainability goals, principles, and approaches in a strategy and are ready for implementation. A roadmap makes this possible by guiding you through the practical steps and providing a structured execution plan.

How to use a sustainability roadmap in ESG reporting?

The process of producing an ESG report includes many steps. A sustainability roadmap streamlines this process by guiding teams on the right path. It sets timelines and milestones, steps taken to achieve goals, and the measurable impact of your initiatives.

Cover image of Zuno Carbon's guide to selecting ESG framework whitepaper

The A to Z in selecting the right framework for your ESG

Download our guide to selecting the right framework for different ESG needs.

Download your copy

Articles you might be interested in

🍪 Cookie settings

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.