With the holidays upon us, a great gift is being able to spend time with family and friends. It’s a special time of the year, which I always look forward to. It’s also a time to reflect and look ahead. If the past couple of years taught us anything, spending time with friends and loved ones, safely, of course, is a must. It has also taught us how interconnected safety and sustainability truly are, and that we have a lot of work to do to make the planet a safer and more sustainable one for everyone.
I recently read a Washington Post report that found countries are underreporting their emissions by anywhere from 8.5 billion to 13.3 billion tons per year. As the article says, “The data the world is relying on is inaccurate.”
Without accurate data, there’s no way to make progress on any Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals or targets. And it’s not just countries that are struggling with ESG data; it’s companies, too. In our 2021 Sustainability Survey Report, we found that 51% of companies have sustainability commitments, for instance, but just 21% said they have a clear roadmap for implementing sustainability strategy into their core business. And only 16% of companies use data from established commercial databases to quantify their carbon footprint.
On the other hand, it’s encouraging to see that 217 companies at this writing have already signed on to the Climate Pledge to become net zero carbon organizations by 2040—which is 10 years earlier than the goal agreed upon in the Paris Agreement. As the Climate Pledge states, “We won’t get there without changing the way we do business.”
In terms of operational risk, we’ve seen quite a bit of it this holiday season simply from the logistical issues taking place. Will gifts be delivered in time this year? All the way back in March, an executive from one of the world’s largest shipping companies told the New York Times, “I’ve never seen anything like this.” He added, “All the links in the supply chain are stretched. The ships, the trucks, the warehouses.”
Companies must be prepared for these types of challenges and future unforeseen disruptions and build resilience into their business models.
The world is watching, and companies must take the lead on risk- and sustainability-related issues. Many organizations have already chosen to implement solutions to improve their operational risk and sustainability efforts, and more and more companies are coming on board each and every day. With all of that movement toward innovation, 2021 has become the impetus for a greater focus on Operational ESG with companies moving from backward-looking reporting to forward-thinking ESG performance improvement. Good tidings, indeed.
As 2021 comes to a close, we want to wish you and your families good health, happiness and peace, and we thank you for partnering with us on our mission of creating a safer, more sustainable and productive world.
Let’s make 2022 a year even more devoted to sustainability. After all, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.