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How ESG Initiatives Are Shifting EHS Priorities During The Next Two Years

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How ESG Initiatives Are Shifting EHS Priorities During The Next Two Years

The latest iteration of the Verdantix EHS Global Corporate Survey has been published, enabling EHS professionals to benchmark their plans against peers, and executives at EHS consulting and technology providers to make data-based planning decisions. The 2021 survey explores how global EHS spending has changed in the past 12 months as executives continue to manage vaccination statuses, COVID-19 outbreaks, as well as the influence of emerging trends such as ESG and sustainability.

Owing to COVID-19 and climate change risks, global corporate priorities surrounding sustainability, net-zero carbon goals and management of total worker health are focus areas that will redefine the traditional scope of EHS functions in the long term. Survey data reveal that 57% of EHS decision-makers strongly agree that they will be driving ESG initiatives during the next two years, demonstrating the deep interconnectedness between ESG and EHS responsibilities. So how will ESG affect EHS functions going forward? One way is through technology adoption, more specifically, the evolution of EHS software. The EHS software landscape is already adapting to meet the environmental demands that ESG reporting necessitates. Consider Blackstone’s acquisition of Sphera for $1.4 billion, Cority’s acquisition of WeSustain, an ESG software specialist provider, and IsoMetrix’s collaboration with an independent sustainability data consultant, SustainIt. Owing to the broader ESG capabilities of EHS software providers, 95% of respondents agreed that EHS software will be used to support ESG data collection during the next two years.

As EHS functions assume a broader set of responsibilities to include ESG reporting and data collection, budgets appear set to match. Thirty-seven percent of respondents strongly agree that they will receive increased investment in response to ESG initiatives. The same is also true for COVID-19, which has placed a spotlight on EHS functions and aligned EHS priorities with key areas of strategic focus for firm executives. Consequently, 28% of EHS decision-makers believe they will have higher discretionary budgets for EHS technology as a direct result of the global pandemic. At a global level, respondent data show that for 52% of firms, EHS budgets will increase with respect to pre-COVID-19 levels. Significantly, spend volatility seen throughout 2020 as a by-product of the K-shaped economic recovery will start to diminish, aided by global vaccination rollouts. Thus, only 3% of respondents in our 2021 survey expect to see EHS budget decreases during the next 12 months.

To learn more about the EHS market trends as well as EHS budgets and priorities segmented across EHS categories, read the latest iteration of the Verdantix Global Corporate Survey report. Additionally, listen in to our upcoming webinar, providing a deep dive into Global Survey data.

Industry Analyst

Chris is an Industry Analyst in the Verdantix EHS practice. His current research agenda focuses on digital mental health and wellbeing solutions. Chris joined Verdantix in 2020 and has previous experience at EY, where he specialised in robotic process automation (RPA). He holds an M.Eng. in Engineering Science from Oxford University with a concentration in machine learning and machine vision.