ESG – Environmental, Social, Governance – remains front-page business news. Organizations around the world and across industries are challenged to define, implement, and report on ESG. The pressures are coming from all directions: investors, customers, employees, regulators, and activists. The reality is that ESG has teeth, and organizations have to do something about it.
Previous iterations of ESG were Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability. These were often passed around the organization like a hot potato and often landed in the lap of marketing as a branding exercise. This is not the case with ESG; the risk exposure to the organization is too great. The goal is to be an organization of integrity to ensure that the values, ethics, statements, commitments, relationships, and transactions are a reality in practice, process, relationships, and transactions.
However, understanding ESG is complex. What I see happening in organizations reminds me of the parable of the blind men and the elephant. One blind man touches the tail and thinks it is a rope, another touches the body and feels a wall, and another touches a leg and says it is a tree. The same is happening with ESG as different functions/departments see what impacts them. Some focus on the E for the environment and think that is the most important since it leads the acronym ESG. Others are focused on the S, and others the G. All three are critical, and intersect with each other.
There is no single global standard for ESG. There is some reporting guidance, and the most popular is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and what is now the Value Reporting Foundation (the merger of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)). Nothing is complete; they each have their different perspectives. The organization is left to develop a strategy and process that delivers what they need to report to their respective/interested stakeholder groups.
This GRC Red Flag Series will explore the role of GRC in delivering and automating ESG reporting and accountability in the organization. Organizations need structured guidance on how to deliver on ESG strategy and processes across the diverse areas of ESG.
In our interview and panel discussion, attendees of this GRC Red Flag Series will learn about:
• Drivers and trends advancing ESG in the organization
• Developing a cohesive ESG strategy and process
• Providing accountability and integrity in ESG initiatives
• Defining ESG processes that are enabled through a GRC capability model
• Automation of ESG and GRC with technology that makes ESG efficient, effective, and agile