Ready to Lead Your Organization’s ESG Strategy?

Suzano to Build New Tissue Mill with Converting Operations in Espírito Santo, Brazil
Suzano to Build New Tissue Mill with Converting Operations in Espírito Santo, Brazil
July 4, 2022
How ESG Investing Impacts EHS Programs?
July 6, 2022
mm
Maxime Ouellet, ing.

Ready to Lead Your Organization’s ESG Strategy?

Our previous article discussed health and safety affecting ESG investments. The odds are that your organization is already working towards an ESG strategy, or at least looking at it. 

Getting the process started 

To aid management on their ESG journey, EHS leaders should take advantage of this opportunity by better understanding the language, roadmap, and goals to be fluent in all things ESG. You can become the go-to person, be included in all discussions, and possibly assist in formulating plans and eventually carrying them out. In short, you can be the driving force that gets your company to the goal of ESG compliance. 

Why should EHS take the lead? 

Environmental Health and Safety personnel take action. You are accustomed to working with protocols and international standards – and turning them into reality. I’m sure that with some research on ESG, you’ll be able to drive the action forward for your company. 

Many organizations are positioning themselves to put procedures to work with ESG. If your board and CEO commit to becoming a sustainable corporation shortly, you’ll need help. Your marketing and communications teams could get behind you and promote it to the rest of your company and your customers. They would need someone to provide content to them about the company’s strategy and goals.  

Getting out of Your Comfort Zone 

Your company won’t be comfortable taking this step because it’s new and all-encompassing. Executives and every decision-maker in the organization are learning their role as they go. If you take it upon yourself to get an excellent working knowledge of ESG, you can provide ideas on how to proceed. Executives will want your input and will follow your lead. 

The first step to managing change is communicating the goals. You, as the EHS leader, could be that person. Management will need bold objectives and someone to communicate them effectively. You aren’t expected to know how each department will handle its compliance portion, but you can coordinate the different areas to comply with regulation and disclosure frameworks. Working as a team with others contributing their plans and strategies is the best approach to reaching its goals. 

A chance to let EHS leadership shine 

Once you’ve shown your expertise and willingness to help all departments, offer to be the lead towards ESG compliance. In the last decade, EHS has proven it can bring value and is now a respected part of any organization. It’s not just a cost center.  

Your leadership can help align the company towards its drive to meet ESG standards. Executives know what EHS is, and its value, but few are knowledgeable about ESG. Even less see a direct connection between EHS and ESG.  

Involve yourself in all the departments, not just EHS. Show that you’ll be more than willing to chip in and participate if a project demonstrates value in another department.  

Each department in your company will be working towards ESG, but it will be a time-consuming and challenging task until everybody works together. Be the leader that brings the group together. You already have the skills to put together safety procedures and protocols and implement them throughout the company.  

Demonstrate that your company has already started the process by tracking all your current environmental initiatives and cataloging any other ESG protocols your company is already following, such as reporting data sets for ESG and EHS compliance (for instance: GHG emissions or hazardous wastes). You can show the executives that you can reach this target by demonstrating what you’ve already accomplished.  

Conclusion 

What’s it takes to be an EHS leader in your company’s ESG compliance? Keep your eye on the big picture and bring value to other departments involved in the same drive. Realize you have two main phases to go through to get to the result:  

  1. PR: The first phase is PR. You’re educating the executives and promoting your abilities while offering your services.  
  1. Panic: The second phase comes after the CEO commits to having the company ESG compliant by a specific date. This is the panic phase where everybody’s scrambling, trying to get everything done at once. This is where you define the components and priorities based on agreed-upon parameters so you can calmly but quickly meet your targets.  

You can propose different approaches that appeal to each department, evaluating those projects objectively. Pick the ones that bring the most value using some scoring metric related to ESG reporting.  

The focus is on creating a framework for understanding what’s essential for your business, industry, customers, and stakeholders. You want to create value for your business and make it a leader in sustainability, social responsibility, and governance.  

Get involved now and be part of the leadership that will take your company forward in its next step of ESG compliance.