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5 Steps to Developing Your ESG Strategy

Toby Graham /

Developing and reporting on ESG is a demonstration of strong corporate leadership and governance. This tends to have positive impacts on a company’s brand, legal liability, and financial position.

EHS professionals are in a unique position to take the lead on ESG initiatives. You’re already managing several programs that fall under the ESG umbrella. You have a great deal of data at your fingertips, and understand the value engaged employees people bring to the programs under your purview. In short, you’re in a perfect position to drive performance improvements across the organization and help maintain a competitive edge.

Given that you’re a key player in any ESG initiative, how do you get one off the ground?

Step 1: Develop the Mission

Here’s where you ask the important question, “How do environmental, social, and governance concepts relate to our corporate mission?” Not all aspects of ESG will relate to your organization, but many will. Keep in mind, this is an activity that can’t be done in a vacuum. You’ll want to establish a cross-departmental team of stakeholders to answer this question as well as tackle the remaining steps. This is the point in the process where you will establish your ESG goals.

Step 2: Determine Objectives & Strategies for Measurement

Objectives naturally flow from the goals you set in your previous step. From here your ESG framework starts to take shape. This is where you’ll ask questions like, “What does success look like when we achieve our goals?” Clearly defined objectives inform key data points to monitor in order to demonstrate progress against these goals. From here you’ll determine your reporting frequency and start setting baselines.

Step 3: Identify Risks & Opportunities

As you start developing objectives and establishing measurement strategies, the risks and opportunities become more apparent across your business. Which areas are you lacking data? Which parts of the organization will be more challenging to get buy-in? On the flip side, where are your quick wins? Identifying your risks and opportunities helps prioritize your initiatives to ensure you’re focusing on the most impactful ones first.

Step 4: Get Buy-In

ESG initiatives fall flat without buy-in from two key groups: your senior leadership and your employees.

Critical to the success or failure of most initiatives, senior leaders need to be both aligned and supportive of your ESG initiative. They can reinforce that ESG is an organizational priority as well as ensure proper funding and staffing.

With employees, sharing the company’s ESG initiative is a great culture-building opportunity. Much like building a culture of safety, building a culture that supports ESG principles goes a long way toward employee satisfaction and retention.

Step 5: Reporting & Transparency

Many organizations have a lot of this data at their fingertips – now, it’s a matter of organizing it. The process of collecting and analyzing this critical data helps you identify areas for improvement, increase efficiencies and overcome roadblocks.

You’ll want to determine not only what you’re going to measure, but how often as well. Perhaps you produce an annual ESG report, with quarterly updates and monthly stakeholder reviews.

Reporting is the first step towards transparency. Transparency involves clearly articulating your ESG goals to all of your stakeholders – be they workers, management, customers, or investors. Then follow up consistently, demonstrating your progress towards those goals.

What's the one thing can you do on the way to developing a smart ESG program?

KPA's CEO, Chris Fanning, shares his advice for safety leaders.

President and CEO Chris Fanning headshot“I think start, in one word.

You may be hearing ESG, you might see it in the news, but from the role you have at your company, at the very least you should start to educate, start reading, start going to a conference or two, or attending a webinar or two, or listening to this podcast. And get smarter about what ESG means and start connecting what ESG means to how your company is inevitably going to need to act moving forward. I think if everyone did just that alone and you know, in the first year if you will, just get more aware, more educated, start thinking about implications, that would accelerate quite a bit when you think about that across many companies, many industries. Just starting is half the battle.”

How KPA Helps Support Your ESG Goals

KPA’s here to help by providing consulting, software, and training to align with your ESG mission.

Environmental

KPA provides consulting and training to help ensure you’re minimizing your impact on your local environment. This can span ensuring compliance with environmental regulations, to helping develop strategies and best practices for reducing your environmental waste streams.

Social

KPA’s 35 years of health and safety experience are here to help you develop an initiative that shows you put people first. Rely on safety program data, comprehensive training library, and usage metrics to demonstrate your organization values people both inside and outside the company.

Governance

Lean on KPA’s comprehensive policy and training libraries along with in-depth reporting to demonstrate your organization follows good governance practices. This is governance that spans ethical sales practices, adherence to a comprehensive code of conduct, and audit trails that demonstrate your commitment to good governance.

KPA’s technology and expertise can help you make successful strides toward fulfilling your ESG mission.

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