Why include sustainability in your next RFP?


Is your business bidding on new work or a new project? Attach your sustainability plan, describing your environmental and social impacts and initiatives. It’ll give you an advantage. This week’s ThisRock topic educates on what an RFP is, in case you need a refresher. We also cover why it makes sense to include notes on your organization’s energy usage, emissions, diversity & inclusion policies, waste reduction, community engagement, and more. We then showcase sample questions we’ve seen in RFPs from municipalities and organizations. We do this to help you prepare.   

A Request For Proposal (RFP) is a business document that announces a project and describes it. It then solicits bids from vendors like you to complete it. Perhaps in the past your company needed to hire a marketing agency or an engineering firm to cover a project. You likely wanted 3 to 5 bids on your projects, so you could compare prices, references and capabilities among vendors. One thing we’ve learned at ThisRock is that including mentions of sustainability plans and initiatives sets vendors apart. Even if your next RFP doesn’t ask for environmental, social or governance factors, include your data points or strategies anyways! It’s going to give you an advantage. It’s going to help you differentiate from the competition. 

I have seen many different questions in RFPs around sustainability. Let’s cover a few. 

Sample questions we’ve seen relating to sustainability in RFPs
  1. Do you use renewable energy? Y/N
  2. Do you track, report and manage your use of energy, water and chemicals? Y/N
  3. Do you have a sustainability plan or policy? Y/N (If so, send it)
  4. Does your company track its diversity makeup by job level? Y/N
  5. How does your organization give back to or serve your community?
  6. Do you measure the sustainability performance of your vendors and subcontractors?

It’s your move. If you have a sustainability or environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy, include it in your next RFP. Talk about it. Be proud of it. You might even inspire other people to follow suit. It makes sense to include notes on your energy usage, emissions, diversity & inclusion policies, waste reduction, community engagement, and more. 

If you don’t currently have a sustainability strategy at your business, no sweat. Get a review done. It doesn’t have to be a big huge assessment. It can be a quick review of your company’s impact on the environment today, on society, and any governance or policies you have in place.  Get a pulse of your business today. It can inform you later. 

Thanks for reading. Watch the full video below. 

~ Team ThisRock