Capability Maturity Model for Business

The LCM Capability Maturity Model is a UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative’s project launched in 2009 designed to develop the capacity of small to medium sized  (SME) suppliers to be effective agents for achieving their own goals, according to local needs and priorities.

Business leaders are challenged with an ever growing list of demands from cost conscious consumers, impatient investors, and passionate advocates. Performance measures are typically easier to quantify and are used to drive accountability. The broad range of stakeholder issues, however, has resulted in a laundry list of reporting requirements that can drive a 'check the box' approach that produces little real improvement. These efforts are also difficult to standardize, because performance is sensitive to the specific industry sector, product category, and increasingly local ecosystem resiliency.

Capability is a more fundamental concept with broader applicability across different contexts. By focusing on capabilities, organizations can more effectively make use of established routines, tools, and methods already embedded in company systems and culture.

The framework guides the organization toward improvement efforts appropriate to their current level of practice and competitive situation, facilitating more successful projects and faster learning. The capability focus enables the performance measures to be more targeted on aspects that are material to the specific company & product, complementing other supply chain initiatives, such as the Sustainable Product Index or the GHG Protocol Scope 3 reporting standards.

The bottom- up development of capability also promises to better balance the tension between the economic logic of global supply chains and the community- based logic of sustainability. The enhanced capabilities can be used for economic entrepreneurship to boost material well- being or for social entrepreneurship to reform institutions and hold decision- makers accountable to local priorities.

 The LCM Capability Maturity Model has proven their effectiveness for process improvement efforts in software engineering, project management, new product development, systems engineering, and human resource management. It provides a structured sequence for improvement actions that is based on the experiences of global leaders with mature sustainability programs that can speed the learning of SME suppliers. The integration of LCM into enterprise operations is similar to that of the ISO 9000 and 14000 standards in that it favours a cyclical plan-do-check-act approach, and thereby provides a basis for continual improvement.

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