3 Key Things EHS Leaders Should Understand To Prepare For The ESG Wave

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3 Key Things EHS Leaders Should Understand To Prepare For The ESG Wave

In today’s corporate climate, any conversation is bound to include some mention of ESG, net zero initiatives and disclosure frameworks. Firms across the globe are either volunteering to disclose to frameworks such as CDP, pressured by shareholders, or required to disclose in the case of TCFD. With these measures, firms are actively building out ESG processes and are finding that their internal EHS teams are ideally placed to both support and execute ESG initiatives and data collection. EHS functions are seeing an increasing amount of their duties revolving around ESG initiatives due to this trend. These firms should consider the following three items when looking towards the future of the EHS’s role in firms’ strategic initiatives for ESG.

  • Communication is key. Due to the evolving nature of both the ESG frameworks disclosed to and the complexity and scope of those frameworks, ESG initiatives and firm goals will change, which will be reflected in the duties expected of EHS Managers. Early establishment of communication between the EHS and defined ESG teams and executive leaders will allow for an exchange of expectations on data required, the ability of the EHS teams to collect this data, the format in which that data is then exchanged and the possibilities of expanding solutions to achieve the firm’s goals. Continual cross-training will reinforce this process and allow the separate functions to become familiar with the alphabet soup of acronyms in each and any basic requirements. Additionally, the transfer of ideas and capabilities will increase the chances of gap identification that would incur a lower disclosure score.

  • Easy wins with existing data sets. By its very nature, EHS functions already collect a large amount of ESG applicable data sets, putting them on the frontline of data collection and management. These revolve around environmental aspects, such as those around carbon management, as well as the physical and mental health of the workforce. The environmental aspect of ESG can be satisfied with data sets that revolve around air emissions, chemical and water emissions, hazardous waste, and other types of pollution. Additional data sets around worker safety can satisfy the expected growing social piece of the puzzle, as looking after your own workforce is a baseline for a responsible firm. When looking toward the governance piece of ESG, EHS managers might find that their data sets may not be as impactful but can add weight to internal processes with a focus on training and function operations from a C-suite level to manager aspect.

  • Solution selection can help bridge the knowledge and technical gaps. Market trends highlight that the shift towards digitization through the Internet of Things (IoT) alongside direct investment into EHS and ESG operations will continue, if not accelerate. EHS teams can thus expect that the expansion of their job duties will also be reflected in the implementation of a data capturing solution that targets increasingly specific metrics or completely new ones. These new technologies can be tailored to fit ESG report outputs and should be selected in tandem with the ESG teams to ensure that it complies with both parties’ needs and expectations.

To learn more about how ESG will impact the EHS function and key considerations for EHS leaders, please read our latest report The Role of EHS Leaders In Implementing ESG Strategies as well as register for the upcoming webinar on June 8th.

Nathan Goldstein

Senior Analyst

Nathan is a Senior Analyst in the Verdantix EHS practice out of the New York office. His current research agenda focuses on the intersection of sustainability and ESG trends within the EHS operational sphere. Prior to joining Verdantix, Nathan worked at Bluefield Research, where he covered the global water industry, with a focus on the energy, industrial and digital segments. Nathan holds a MSc in Water: Science and Governance from King’s College London.