Investing into environmental, social and governance initiatives and strategies delivers measurable value to the organisation over the long and the short term.
However, initial investment hype alongside so-called ‘greenwashing’ has left many companies and investors wary of ESG initiatives and approaches.
The connection to the ESG value proposition blurred by limited visibility and mistrust.
A survey undertaken by Workviva found around 50% of investors across all markets don’t find it easy to trust in a company’s ESG actions and claims with 68% citing a need for ESG data that they can trust.
It has become critical to create foundations withing ESG reporting and management that are transparent, aligned with clear mandates, and that can support an organisation’s ESG presence and investment convictions.
Globally, the survey revealed that 70% of respondents wanted companies to take responsibility for their ESG performance and 64% of investors will demand information that proves an ESG posture before making any decisions.
These percentages only underscore the growing need to ensure that ESG is accompanied by rich data that’s easily accessible and that’s intensely reliable, a fact underscored by a recent analysis of ESG best practice in the Harvard Law Review’s ESG Global Study 2021.
The latter report also emphasises the importance of consistency in the data and the methodologies used to access and analyse it. Investors are increasingly inclined to believe that sustainable ESG practices and investments come hand-in-hand with transparent reporting and rigorous processes. As the World Economic Forum points out, ESG has moved on. It’s no longer reporting on the progress of initiatives but on embedding ‘ESG metrics into core business strategies’ to ensure that progress is measured correctly and actions are transparent.
“Using international standards such as ISO 14001:2015, you can create a comprehensive, accessible and relevant environmental management system (EMS) that allows your business to align every data point and process to your ESG objectives,” says Simone Samuel, ISO consultant at WWISE. “Using these smart standards, you can create solid foundations for ambitious and bold ESG strategies as you will be leveraging the latest in legislative, regulatory and social parameters every step along the way.”
With ISO 14001, organisations can measure the effectiveness of their ESG strategies and processes using applications, monitoring and measuring equipment, policies, processes, procedures and other established toolsets.
This ISO standard can be applied to organisations of any size or from any sector, and essentially ensures organisations have the right processes in place to ensure that you can actively engage with suppliers that have better environmental approaches as they integrate them into their systems. It allows users to create a measurable ESG ecosystem that filters down from the top of the chain right down to the links to all its connections.
There has been numerous research done into how ISO 14001, alongside other ISO standards, provide companies with a strong foundation from which to then embark on innovations and alternative pathways that could potentially up new product lines, new supplier channels and so much more. Samuel points out that ISO 14001 has measurable benefits for companies that are looking to shift their ESG footprints and build strategies that are aligned with local and global regulations and that provide investors with the transparency and visibility they need.