The SIGMA Management Framework is a cycle of four flexible implementation phases: leadership and vision; planning; delivery; and review, feedback and reporting. Organisations may enter and move through the phases at different speeds and give different phases different emphasis depending on their individual circumstances, the availability of resources and the level of maturity of their sustainable development policies, strategies and programmes.
The SIGMA Management Framework may be used in whole or in part:
|to integrate existing management systems, building on existing approaches|
|to establish a stand-alone management system|
|as guidance to deepen and broaden existing management practice without the formal structure of a management system.|
In order to ensure compatibility with existing practice, the SIGMA Management Framework is modelled on approaches widespread in formal and informal management systems. The 'Plan, Do, Check, Act' model that underpins the SIGMA Management Framework is familiar to many organisations and has the benefit of being both practical and effective in delivering improved organisational performance. Organisations can improve their performance by using the Management Framework:
|to set ambitious yet achievable targets|
|to build on existing management systems and approaches or as a standalone framework for managing sustainability issues in an organisation.|
Many of the activities and outcomes called for in the phases of the SIGMA Management Framework may already be in-hand as a result of existing business management practices and systems.
Some organisations may have well-established business management systems or practices, but may need to clarify or revisit their strategic vision. For these organisations the leadership and vision phase would be a good place to start. For other organisations the priority may be to embed sustainability into their core processes and decision-making. The planning and delivery phases of the SIGMA Management Framework would be a good place to start in these circumstances.
Other organisations like to start by reporting what they are doing and then build systems to improve their performance. Organisations that have already used the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines16 to produce sustainability reports will find that working through the SIGMA Management Framework will help them to improve their performance.
How the SIGMA Guiding Principles relate to the Management Framework
The SIGMA Guiding Principles provide a model reflecting what an organisation working toward sustainability might look like. These, along with other codes and principles will help organisations develop their own robust operating principles. This is a key activity in the Leadership and Vision phase. The Management Framework is all about helping organisations turn their vision and principles into reality. It is important to keep these principles in mind. The processes of building accountability and of enhancing capital are embedded within each phase. (Where it is particularly appropriate to engage stakeholders this is highlighted in the detailed descriptions of the phases and sub-phases.)
The phases are based on a management process, and do not include expected levels of performance. However, improved performance is the main aim of the SIGMA Guidelines and organisations should set ambitious and achievable goals that can be delivered using the SIGMA Management Framework. The four key phases of the SIGMA Management Framework.