From Public Companies, Housing Associations to Private Enterprises, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) concerns are becoming an increasingly discussed topic. You may be thinking about how to start raising these ESG issues to your Board of Directors, so we have written this helpful guide.
What Is ESG For A Board?
Firstly, you must understand how to explain the importance of ESG to your Board. This may be more difficult for corporate boards over a charity board. It is your company’s business the way they are impacting environmental issues and their local communities. If you want a helpful explanation, we have already written an article on how to define ESG.
However, your Board Members will likely already be well versed in the basics of ESG but will need guidance on how to integrate ESG into their wider corporate governance.
There are risks and opportunities associated with ESG but at its core it is about risk management. The climate crisis will impact your supply chain, and day-to-day business.
Beyond the wider good for all of ESG, focusing on ESG can lead you to financial opportunities. The younger generation are more likely to interact with organisations that prioritise ESG, which means there are specific ESG investment funds.
What First Steps Can Your Board Take On ESG?
The first step is collecting ESG data and creating an ESG Report. This will allow you to assess where you stand currently and what you need to improve. You should ensure that you regularly update your data and produce frequent reports so you can monitor all progress.
Once you know where you stand, your Board should assess your ESG KPIs. Where are you going to focus your energy and resources? What are your long term goals? How are you going to achieve them?
Monitoring is important but planning is key. Assign a different aspect of ESG to each of your Board Members so it can permeate throughout your work culture.
How Do ESG Concerns Get Raised?
There will be a chain of command before any issues reach your Board. Some ESG concerns can be dealt with through other channels first. For example, your HR department may be able to oversee some of the internal Social issues. However, you should set the tone for the priority of ESG issues from the top-down.
If there is an ESG concern such as a need for energy savings, investing in a local community or a governance transparency issue then you should follow your standard procedure for any issue. Namely, it should form part of your agenda and then it needs to be discussed.
You may not be able to find a solution during the meeting, so organise a follow-up meeting for those with special interest in the issue. Assigning different ESG roles to select individuals is essential to success with any ESG project.
ESG is bigger than just your Chief Sustainability Officer. It is essential that your entire Board be involved and made aware. Use Convene Board Portal’s Action Items feature to allocate tasks, automatically follow up on them and review their progress at later meetings.
How Can Convene ESG Help Your Board?
At Convene, our ESG expertise has helped us develop a new tool Convene ESG to streamline your ESG Reporting process. By simplifying and automating much of the process, you can be sure that your ESG report building runs smoothly, so you can focus on developing your sustainable strategies.
With Convene ESG, you can develop a collaborative workflow, assigning certain sections of the ESG or SRS report to the required people. Once all the sections are filled in, Convene ESG will produce a formatted Word Document or spreadsheet ready for you to publish!
Convene ESG also has a built-in comparison feature, which allows you to compare against competitors' formatting of their publicly accessible reports, and their results! This will help the whole of the housing sector develop the best reports possible!