This post is the first in a series exploring the 4 Pillars of ESG Management: Strategy, Data, Reporting, and Engagement.
With a surge of public promises to combat climate change, improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, and hold executives responsible for more than maximizing profit, ESG leaders are often left to connect the dots on how exactly sustainability commitments can be met. The urgency of these lofty and sometimes vague declarations is compounded by the growing number of reporting requirements sprouting up in nearly every industry around the globe. But how can organizations navigate from ESG promises to results? From words to action? And perhaps ultimately, from reacting to regulations to proactively managing sustainability?
Decide How Your Organization Will Define Progress and Success
Comprehensive ESG management can look very different from one organization to the next, but it always starts with strategy. It’s imperative for an organization to begin their sustainability journey by mapping clear, specific ESG goals that align with corporate objectives. This is the time to be realistic about what is achievable—what KPIs can you effectively measure and manage? Get granular and transparent. For instance, when addressing GHG, stakeholders are demanding more than a promise of net-zero emissions by 2050. How are you improving energy efficiencies now? Can you reduce your Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 10% this year? How are you addressing Scope 3? For organizations still creating or redefining their GHG initiatives, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed Target Setting resources that organizations can use for guidance.
Government of Canada Information and Guidance on Greenhouse Gas Reporting (GHGRP)
Identify Sustainability Areas That Are Relevant to Your Organization and Industry
The SASB Materiality Finder is a great tool to start exploring relevant issues, standards, and common disclosure topics for you and your specific industry. This can help organizations expand beyond the letter “E” or environmental initiatives. While imperative, ESG management is more than carbon accounting. Social and Governance factors contribute to an organization’s grit and overall risk. Data security, customer welfare, labor conditions, looming regulations, and accident and safety management might be just a few of the ESG factors an organization considers when developing a comprehensive sustainability strategy.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Recommendations
Consider All Your Stakeholders and Anticipate Their Diverse Needs
The pool of ESG and sustainability stakeholders has never been larger, and it’s constantly expanding. While sustainability and ESG experts are still leading the charge with deep expertise and responsibility for tactical execution, organizations are now experiencing increased interest and scrutiny in ESG performance at every level. Delivering investor-grade data via real-time tools not only manages stakeholder demands, but it also empowers all involved, from the C-Suite to the front lines, to become ESG advocates contributing to your sustainability progress.
As your organization commits to a more sustainable future, it’s critical to have a well-defined, relevant strategy that aligns goals, road maps the next steps on your ESG journey, and resonates with your stakeholders.
Need help bringing your ESG strategy to life? The FigBytes Strategy module helps organizations navigate complex and ever-changing sustainability frameworks and ESG standards with a strategy that’s connected to your corporate vision and backed by metrics. Our interactive maps make it easy to visualize your sustainability journey every step of the way.