Resolving that pesky problem around getting your sustainability project approved by the leadership without extensive belly dancing around the table:
1. No need to label any project as a "sustainability project"
2. Just offer projects / solution options which are sustainable as part of the options you present to the leadership
3. Put in the effort to truly make it worthwhile and doable, as you did with any other business case before
I understand that everyone would like to showcase what they do as soon as possible (as you've put in the hard work to educate yourself and know what your are doing!), but if the state of the nation is so, that the leadership's buy-in is hard to get (which is still true in many companies), then just go ahead, build the business cases and present them as one of the options.
After acceptance and successful delivery, you can shout as loud as you want about what you and your team(s) have accomplished and how it impacts sustainability of the company.
The leadership will get the hint and will be more inclined to support initiatives in the future that target sustainability as the main aim.
Feeling comfortable and doing these already? 😁
Level up! 😎
❗ Disclaimer: the next lines are only for ninja level professionals, who already learnt to back themselves up by data, functional and negotiation skills.
Here we go:
For many sustainability changes, the situation is the same as not getting approval for a tricky planning change in the system that you know will be the right solution but others/leadership would hesitate doing it.
You know the drill:
Just do it without further level approval, as it "falls within your authority" (or not yet, but soon will 😉). Empower yourself, you are not a robot and you aren't in the army or the navy.
As we aren't in an ER (won't be losing lives) and you know exactly how much your action costs for the company, making the changes will not bring down the house.
Of course these are only true for processes you know well and you know that making the changes will benefit your organisation - so do the work behind and if it stacks up, then go ahead and make the change....chances are, no one will notice, unless you brag about it (if they notice, you didn't do your homework...).
The moment you made a set of changes that proved to be a-okay and start showing, you can go ahead and summarise to the leadership as a success story already.
Same is true, when sustainability is pushed really hard for brownie points for the business, but the actions don't stack up and can lead to greenwashing. You need to call these out and cross-functionally cooperate to find the right solutions.
Going to work with sustainability in mind will get you there.
Supply Chain mavericks, I know you are out there. What are you waiting for?