In recent years, more companies have focused on Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) initiatives, driven by key investors and stakeholders. This is propelling organizations to not only reevaluate methods by which they measure and report their risk, compliance, sustainability, and stewardship performance, but also how ESG can be incorporated into their culture to achieve their organizational commitments.
On January 26, 2021, Benchmark Digital Partners (formerly Gensuite) hosted the All-In: On ESG Digital Transformation Launch Event to mark the beginning of the company’s latest chapter and to hear from industry experts and EHS, Sustainability, & Stewardship practitioners on how ESG is transforming their organizations and programs. The event was a great success, with nearly 500 subscribers, partners, and global thought leader attendees in attendance and an impressive lineup of featured speakers that included David Metcalfe (CEO – Verdantix), Jan Johansson (Senior Project Manager, Sustainability Affairs – Electrolux), Jim Kohlbach (Corporate Sustainability & Stewardship Manager – Amphenol), Liz Hackett (ESH Executive – Cytiva), and Andy Beck (Managing Director – kglobal).
Together under our new banner of Benchmark ESG | Gensuite, we are excited to extend our heritage of benchmark best-practice workflows and collaborative innovation to the broader ESG community.
5 Key Takeaways for Successful ESG Digital Transformation
1. Making the Case for Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG).
Ten or so years ago, the market was in a “steady state” when it came to bringing corporate sustainability and environmental objectives through to fruition; however, a fundamental shift has occurred in recent years and has expanded to include social concerns and corporate governance practices. This focus on ESG is being driven by the financial and investment sectors and is flowing through to the corporate marketplace at an accelerating rate, where organizations will now need to take necessary steps to ensure that they deliver on their ESG commitments.
2. ESG Responsibilities Often Cascade from the C-Suite to the EHS Leader.
While good ESG reporting is truly a cross-functional endeavor, EHS & Sustainability leaders are increasingly being asked to deliver on ESG performance indicators & program initiatives. EHS and sustainability management systems provide a foundational system of record when it comes to reporting ESG program performance and responding to requests from financial or leadership stakeholders. David Metcalfe, CEO of Verdantix, explains, “We are seeing more CEO-lead sustainability strategies, cascading down to the requirement for comprehensive ESG or corporate sustainability data systems […] This provides a fantastic opportunity for people in EHS roles – who have already proven themselves to be brilliant leaders through the pandemic – to leverage those digital investments already made and reassuring the C-Suite that they can solve the problem.”
3. ESG is a Dynamic Landscape, Bringing Great Challenges & Opportunities.
With a growing number of ESG reporting frameworks and various internal & external stakeholders requesting performance disclosures, ESG can seem like a moving target. In Blackrock’s 2020 Global Sustainable Investing Survey, it was noted that 53% of respondents cited the poor quality or availability of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data and analytics as the biggest barrier to deeper and broader implementation of sustainable investing. Creating a system of record that can be used to compile and verify investment-grade ESG data, actively monitoring changes, and ensuring that your organization has processes and systems in place to address them can help your organization stay on track to achieving your ESG targets & commitments.
4. Digital Transformation & Advanced Technology Are the Keys to Long-Term ESG Success.
The year 2020 proved to be one where technology adoption was necessitated to enable a remote workforce and ensure business continuity. Organizations that had already either begun their digital transformation journey or had plans to expand the use of technology throughout the enterprise were much more resilient and capable of quickly addressing the immediate workplace risks posed by the pandemic; a similar digitization approach should be incorporated into a company’s ESG strategy. Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, the Internet of Things, and Virtual and Augmented Realty are among the advanced technologies paving the next generation of data. AI in particular is at the forefront, enabling users to reach beyond the standard capabilities of data collection, reporting and analysis to gain clear and actionable insights. This will not only impact the future of analytics for areas such as incident management and chemical risks, but also extend to ESG-related solutions such as sentiment analysis for employee and safety culture.
5. Operationalizing ESG is Critical to Delivering on Your Commitments.
It’s not enough to simply report your ESG metrics; ESG commitments need to be drilled down to the point of action and integrated into the company’s culture to enact meaningful change. Having a partner in this ESG transformation journey is also essential to success. Benchmark Digital Founder & CEO, R Mukund, states, “We have developed both a methodology and a technology: distilling the business process, finding the essence of it, engaging people and driving accountability and ownership and ensuring that we are getting people to deliver toward the business objectives through collaboration and a sense of community. We are looking to take these same lessons learned and apply them to the ESG world.”
Contact us if you would like to learn more about how Benchmark ESG | Gensuite can partner with you to deliver on your ESG commitments, and build on your environmental, safety, occupational health, quality, operational reliability and security, sustainability, product stewardship, and responsible sourcing excellence programs!