Advancing sustainability through partnerships – Geoff Pegg, Head of Sustainability & Environment, TELUS
Increasingly, customers, employees and communities expect businesses to lead when it comes to addressing ESG risks and opportunities. Each and every day, business owners, executives, Board members and other organizational stakeholders are asking questions with respect to climate, diversity, equity and inclusion, human rights, security and privacy and other ESG topics. Differentiated ESG performance can be a market differentiator in the competition for customers and talent. Accordingly, across most industries, many organizations are developing and implementing ESG strategies, establishing public goals and targets, creating action plans, and ensuring strong governance processes are in place.
Many individuals, groups and businesses often just need some inspiration to get started when it comes to addressing ESG risks and opportunities. For organizations that may not be far along their ESG journey, the Sustainable Development Goals can provide a blueprint to pursue globally aligned ESG objectives. As businesses consider their ESG strategies, goals and action plans, they commonly come to the realization that they may not have the requisite internal expertise or capability to advance their progress. As a result, reflecting on SDG 17 – Partnership for the Goals – can assist in determining how and who may be able to help.
As organizations – be it large publicly traded companies, small-medium enterprises, not-for-profit entities or others – strive to meet stakeholder expectations and create positive social and environmental impact, collaboration with others is often necessary to refine ESG strategies and develop robust governance practices. Where can these organizations look to be inspired and look forward?
Through collaboration with industry associations, peers, charitable organizations, consultants and others such as the Global Compact Network Canada, asking them to share lessons learned can be an effective way organization can increase the adoption of best in class ESG practices whilst building credibility and trust with customers and other stakeholders.
Understanding where there may be gaps in ESG related skills within an organization is also an important step. Hiring ESG subject matter experts in areas of the organization such as strategic development, risk management and governance, finance, procurement and sales can also enhance collaboration across teams as organizations advance their sustainability performance.
We are all in this together, making it important that we work together to ensure a brighter future for each other, our communities and our planet.