Impact on the environment can range from the 'small' and everyday to the huge, and while it might often feel like a personal challenge - recycling, electric vehicles, home energy bills - it is a business challenge, and one that HR is deeply involved in.
COP28 is underway in Dubai, bringing together leading nations to discuss policy and commitment to environmental issues. It may be that in your company you are already doing a lot to build a climate-friendly and environment-focused way of working at ground level and the 'bigger' elements such as B Corp status, or being net zero, feel out of reach or off-radar when you have myriad other policies to navigate.
However, with more and more companies working towards these big climate goals, it's unwise to ignore whether your company should and could do the same.
It's all about ESG - environmental and social governance. ESG is a set of criteria that investors and other stakeholders use to evaluate a company's impact and behaviour across elements such as the company's carbon footprint, energy efficiency, waste management, and adherence to environmental regulations.
Social factors may include labour practices, diversity and inclusion, human rights, and community engagement. ESG criteria are used by investors to make decisions that align with their values and sustainability goals. Companies with strong ESG performance are often considered more resilient and better positioned for long-term success. Many investors believe that considering ESG factors can lead to better risk management and contribute to sustainable and responsible business practices.
You may think you're doing all you can, but is there a firm plan? What's the policy you have for ESG targets? And if you don't know, why don't you?
Reducing carbon emissions
Shockingly, while nearly four in five (77%) businesses agree that ESG factors impact their organisation’s brand or reputation, less than a tenth (eight per cent) have a fully realised ESG strategy, according to research from the Open Unversity (OU). Surveying over 500 businesses, the OU also found that that skills and training are a big issue here, too, with 80% of businesses who engage in ESG accept they lack the right skills in each of the three ESG pillars.