Things to think about

Ten Things to Think About® when building your ESG and sustainability strategy

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Ten Things to Think About® when building your ESG and sustainability strategy

Businesses can no longer afford to stay silent on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. From climate change to social injustice, the challenges are undeniable. But the call to action isn't just about mitigating risks; it's about seizing an opportunity to create progress, purpose, prosperity and positive impact. Building an effective ESG and sustainability strategy is hard, so here are ten crucial things to think about to guide you.

1. Purpose and alignment

• What drives your commitment to ESG? Is it environmental stewardship, social responsibility, ethical governance, or a combination? Defining your ‘why’ and developing a clear purpose aligns your goals and motivates stakeholders.

• Don't consider ESG in isolation. Integrate it into your core business strategy, ensuring it fits with your strategic direction.

2. Materiality and prioritisation

• Not all ESG issues are equally important to your business and stakeholders. Analyse and prioritise the issues that have the most significant impact, both positive and negative.

• Leverage your existing capabilities and assets to tackle your most pressing ESG challenges. This is where you can create the most impact.

3. Data and measurement

• Establish clear metrics and baseline data to track your progress on ESG goals. Quantifying your impact builds trust and demonstrates your commitment.

• Openly communicate your ESG goals, progress and challenges. Stakeholders want transparency in reporting.

4. Governance and accountability

• Embed ESG in your governance structure by creating clear roles and responsibilities for ESG at all levels of your organisation.

• Tie ESG performance to employee incentives and executive compensation. Ensure that sustainable practices are integral to your operations.

5. Stakeholder engagement

• Engage with your stakeholders – employees, customers, investors, communities – to understand their ESG concerns and priorities. A successful ESG programme needs diverse voices.

• Build partnerships with NGOs, industry peers and others to amplify your impact.

6. Supply chain stewardship

• Extend your ESG commitment beyond your walls by evaluating and engagingwith your suppliers on their ESG practices.

• Encourage your suppliers to adopt similar ESG principles and work together to create a sustainable supply chain ecosystem.

7. Innovation and continuous improvement

• Invest in research and development, explore new technologies and constantly seek better ways to address ESG challenges.

• As sustainability challenges evolve, adapt your strategy accordingly and harness each learning opportunity.

8. Risk management and resilience

• Proactively assess and manage potential ESG-related risks to your business, from climate change disruptions to social unrest. Anticipate these issues and address them before they become significant problems.

• Prepare your organisation for the impacts of climate change and other environmental and social challenges. Developing resilience ensures your organisation can weather any storm.

9. Communication and advocacy

• Don't let your efforts go unnoticed. Share your ESG journey, challenges and successes with stakeholders and the wider community. Amplify the message of sustainability.

• Use your voice to advocate for broader ESG policies and regulations, both within your industry and at a national level.

10. Celebrate progress and inspire others

• Don't forget to recognise and celebrate achievements. Every positive step towards sustainability is worth celebrating.

• Share your successes and challenges with other businesses, encouraging them to join in promoting sustainability. Together, we can work towards a more harmonious future for all.

Building an effective ESG and sustainability strategy is a complex and ongoing endeavour. But by considering these ten things, you can create a powerful message of purpose, prosperity and positive impact.

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