The E in ESG: Why Climate Action Matters In Business Ethics
Last month, I spoke about ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) at the Business Ethics Alliance 2021 EthicSpace Conference here in Omaha. ESG is becoming bigger piece of our conversations with clients as more companies are connecting how their operations impact the climate crisis and vice versa.
Successful businesses are no longer focused solely on profits. They are increasingly focused on benefitting all of their stakeholders — which in holistic view should expand beyond owners and shareholders to include employees, the larger community where the company is located, and even the supply chain.
As I told the audience of business leaders, the heart of ESG can be boiled down to one question: “Is the world better off as a result of your business being in it?” When we look at that question through an environmental lens, it becomes: “Is your business having a net-positive environmental impact?”
The movement to incorporate environmentalism into corporate missions matters because scientists agree that there is still time to mitigate the worst outcomes of climate change. (Read our takeaways from the IPCC report and COP26 to learn more.) There are also meaningful benefits to be had for businesses that take this issue seriously and act.
There are several concrete steps businesses can take to kickstart their ESG or Corporate Social Responsibility missions:
- Complete a Materiality Assessment. This is a familiar process to us at Verdis Group, and an important activity to help a company understand which ESG issues are important to its stakeholders and how that issue affects the business.
- Conduct a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory. We are well-versed in GHG Protocol standards and have conducted dozens of GHG inventories for businesses diverse in size, industry, and location.
- Using your GHG Inventory as a baseline, set science-based goals. This step speaks for itself; our actions should be rooted in the present and future realities that climate scientists are warning us about.
- Once you have solid goals, execute! Environmentalism is an ethical issue and the responsibility to take action and move forward is ours.
If you’re ready to take action, we’re ready to help. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting, and in the meantime, download our free guide to creating a Climate Action Plan.