5 tips to develop your ESG program when resources are tight, and time is of the essence.
Over the years, we have found that companies often already have all that they need to start building their ESG “muscle.” It’s just a matter of understanding the critical areas, identifying strengths, and owning your narrative.
- Encouraging eco-friendly business practices
- Helping customers reduce their environmental footprints through products or services
- Ensuring employee health, well-being, and safety
- Providing essential services that support families and communities
- Cultivating a corporate culture that promotes DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) through initiatives such as employee resource groups (ERGs)
- Implementing IT best practices for data security
- Enforcing governance policies that go beyond SEC requirements
- Establishing ongoing risk analysis and mitigation
- Assigning Board oversight of ESG strategy
- What do we stand for? (ESG strategy articulation)
- Where are we focused? (Identification of key ESG areas or pillars)
- Where are we strong, and where do we have more work to do? (Highlights your accomplishments, goals, and commitments)
As mentioned at the beginning, we recommend including a section in your Proxy report that articulates your ESG strategy and pillars. This is increasingly becoming table stakes for investors.
Next, consider creating an ESG page on your IR website, with an ESG factsheet available for download. If you are ready, you can include a simple matrix that discloses ESG data across select frameworks, like SASB or TCFD. Where you don’t yet have metrics to report, share a qualitative explanation on why or what actions you are taking to prepare to report such metrics in the future.
How about earnings? Earnings occur four times a year, making them fantastic opportunities to share your long-term goals and provide regular updates to the investment community on the progress you are making.
Finally, it’s worth noting that your ESG messaging also is of increasing importance to other key audiences, including your employees, customers, and partners. Make sure to incorporate your ESG narrative into your public relations and corporate communications activities to show these stakeholder groups that you are being proactive.
Let the Journey Begin!
As the wise Simon Sinek once said, “The hardest part is starting. Once you get that out of the way, you’ll find the rest of the journey much easier.” These five steps should help you do just that – get a running start on your ESG program in preparation for the 2023 Proxy season and leverage that momentum to continue driving progress on these key areas going forward.
At Sharon Merrill, we help companies advance their ESG journeys to enhance long-term value, reduce risk, and drive societal progress. For a full overview of our ESG counsel offerings, please click here. Use the form below to set up an appointment and find out more about how we can help your company build further momentum in ESG.