How firms may improve their ESG programs and enhance their ESG journey by operationalizing Governance over ESG.
Small sustainability teams with enormous responsibilities are not unusual. Forty-two percent of U.S.-based companies have two to five full-time employees on their sustainability teams. ESG transcends boundaries, employees, and ecosystems. It involves a vast array of suppliers and customers. Governance and controls must cover all of these. Most sustainability teams cannot report comprehensive results using their current methods.
Disconnected ESG initiatives are why many programs do not take off. The biggest challenge those responsible for enterprise risk face is connecting each ESG aspect. Effective ESG requires a cohesive enterprise approach that includes people, processes, technology, and data. The approach needs to align initiatives across departments, move data across systems, and allow program-wide visibility to enable measurement. Critical ESG data comes from multiple departments. Environmental data comes from facilities, operations, customer service. Social data comes from human resources, marketing, and governance from finance, compliance, IT, to name a few. Each department has its own processes with separate systems and data that its employees use. Each is outside of the sustainability team. With such disconnection, how can an organization have a comprehensive view to analyze and report ESG progress? Centralizing ESG data is vital to streamline and accurately measure ESG across the ecosystem. Without transparency, the G over ESG effort is an impossible one. ESG program effectiveness may be limited. Companies will not have auditable metrics regulators and other stakeholders require.