Gone is the time when companies used to take a passive approach on environmental, social, and governance aspects. In 2021, investors and employees give importance to these aspects more than ever. The need for putting a strong focus on ESG practices, strategies, and performance has increased dramatically when deciding where to invest in. 

ESG implementation strategies and disclosures are being calculated more than ever. Investors and stakeholders now look for companies that are committed to their ESG practices. They research everything from the ESG disclosure reports, annual reports, sustainability reports to reports by standard rating agencies. The Covid-19 pandemic and the threat to the environment have rapidly increased the importance of ESG practices for organizations. It is now clearly the biggest aspect to portray that your organization operates, keeping the environmental, social, and governance values in mind.

Companies find different ways to tackle everyday challenges. But it is essential to measure the future goals and performance to meet the investor demands, handle unforeseen circumstances, and manage cultural shifts. Taking ESG communication strategy seriously helps firms to build more strategic plans towards sudden events. 

Below are the efficient steps to implement ESG strategies that you can apply to the industry or business. 

  1. Assessing key ESG issues

The first and foremost step is to perform a materiality assessment that would work as the foundation of ESG strategy. A company’s efforts may go in vain without proper review. The purpose of the evaluation is to note down the critical ESG issues and the scope for improvements that can affect the company’s performance. Measuring all the aspects of ESG is essential, but it is also crucial to notice the priority of all of them.

The materiality assessments have evolved- taking into account different aspects of a business. It measures the financial to environmental and social perspectives. A well-performed materiality assessment will give a solid foundation to determine the priorities for ESG communication strategy. 

  1. Measure current state 

After determining the prior ESG topics, a company needs to assess existing policies, strategies, policies, and engagements. You can perform this by collaborating with cross-functional stakeholders who are expertise in ESG topics. Gathering details like reports, data systems, procedures from interviews with stakeholders can give you detailed insights. 

It will allow you to look into the company’s current state and measure the relative progress of the company’s ESG. Through this, you can better measure the ambition and fitness for ESG goals of the organization. 

  1. Make a list of objectives and goals.

Now that you have your benchmark ESG numbers, you can begin to think about how you might focus your efforts in the future. That is how companies can attract and retain the right customers. To further establish strategic goals, we propose topic-focused strategy sessions with leading players, starting with:

Maintain: What are the things you’re currently performing that only need to be kept up to date or conveyed? This might be anything like “compliance with product safety laws” — something deemed “table stakes” and essential for the company to sustain, but not where you would focus your resources in a bit of time to give the most ESG value. In this situation, you could opt to keep up your existing efforts to assure success.

Improve: Where can you implement small changes to coincide with peers, fulfill stakeholder needs, or demonstrate ESG commitment?

Optimize: Where can you genuinely hone your current ESG initiatives to take the lead in the industry?

  1. Set Action plans and measure key performance indicators
  • Determine what progress looks like in terms of realistic and tangible outcomes.
  • Centralized management systems or data applications should be used to make it easier to measure and trend important indicators and performance.
  • Set a frequent communication and update schedule for stakeholders to assess goals, update information, and discuss best practices on a routine basis. You may stay on track toward your goals by regularly evaluating your plans and making any necessary modifications.

Finally, make a report of progress that communicated the ESG strategy to stakeholders and customers. Share the company-specific ESG metrics and goals. Review and update your ESG implementation strategies regularly to ensure that you walk with the stakeholder’s expectations.