From leadership to operations, all company areas must assimilate the concept. But it’s not always an easy task. See where and how to start.

According to a Bloomberg survey, ESGrelated investments in 2020 totalled US$35 trillion. The expectation is that by 2025 this amount will reach US$ 53 trillion, representing a third of investment assets.

Still, many companies struggle to turn the ESG agenda into a fully embracing initiative. Part of this comes from the lack of technical and practical knowledge on the subject; after all, the subject is relatively new for many of us.

For ESG to be part of a company’s culture, they must have their ESG departments focused on solutions and actions. The concept must be all around the company, from the leadership to the teams that work in operation.

But how is this possible, especially in large companies with many employees? It may seem cliché, but the most assertive path is through education.

The ESG leader is not born aligned with the premises of this concept. Adopting new behaviours and thoughts is not natural; learning is necessary. Most leaders have been trained to achieve high performance and deliver profit. Trained, not educated.

In addition to education, another important pillar is communication. It is possible to make this call of conscience in several ways, through team building or with a leadership workshop, for example. It’s what we call the beginning of the hero’s journey, this more humanized and conscious ESG leader.

However, this conversation must have a recurrence for communication to work. It is essential to adopt a plan with objectives that must be clear, with language appropriate to each public, leadership and operation. We do not communicate with the board of directors the same way we transmit messages to the operating area.

But to make communication work, you must take a few steps back. One of the first obstacles encountered is the lack of definition of what ESG is for the company. It is worth remembering that the practical application of the concept is different for each context.

That’s why it’s important, first of all, to establish what ESG means for your company. To help with this process, I suggest that you ask yourself a few questions:

Why do we want to become ESG?
Is it because of the core business?
Is it meant to be a damage repair tool?
Do we want a competitive edge?
Do we want to get funding and licenses?
After that, the question that must be asked is: what are the goals with this in the long term?

Then you need to define the starting and ending points. I make an analogy with a GPS application: you need to know where you are and where you are going. This is the only way to calculate time, effort, the best routes and alternative paths. Within our members worldwide, we have a detailed culture assessment with palpable metrics, which aims to assess the actual adherence of the company’s values ​​to the ESG.

It is possible to initiate this movement by forming a small focus group. Try randomly selecting leaders from different areas of your company and ask them what the company values ​​are. There, it will be possible to have a thermometer and see whether or not the company is experiencing the ESG. From there, the design of the strategy can be started.

Another critical point is to define the leader and the team that will make this boat sail. The best way is always to seek an expert on the subject to lead the project. However, you can create a squad with the necessary profiles and people genuinely interested in the subject.

Knowing where you are, where you’re going, and with a crew formed, it’s time to create a navigation map for your first trip. For this, my guidelines are: study the environment, do internal and external benchmarking, put networking to work and participate in events.

This phase also calls for new route calculations and deadline definitions. It’s worth remembering that learning along this ESG path is constant, but it’s essential to understand the basics to advance new houses in the game.

With the new parameters defined, the time has come to hoist the boat’s sails and take it out to sea. I think ESG is much more education than money. Those with children are responsible for raising future adults for the ESG world.

We must look at the ESG leader and how attentive we are to social, environmental and governance issues. What is governance? It’s just doing the right thing.

Thais Pegoraro

Original Material From EXEC – our members from Brazil
ESG: como transformar uma tendência em cultura organizacional – HSM Management

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