There is a seismic shift taking place in the investment industry when it comes to evaluating environmental performance.

When Allison Herren Lee was named as the acting chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission in January, she made Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues a top priority. She has even hinted in a recent speech that mandatory ESG disclosures could be forthcoming.

ESG, of course, refers to measuring a company’s sustainability and societal impact from an investment perspective. Investors are paying closer attention to how companies address ESG, but that doesn’t mean doing so is an easy task. With announcements from investment firms like BlackRock and others, it’s clear ESG is where investment strategy is headed. Companies that perform the best in ESG have higher returns on their investments, less risk and better resiliency, especially during a business shock.

As an organization committed to helping companies navigate their sustainability journey, we welcome this news and have recently signed our own commitment letter to setting Science Based Targets and reducing our carbon footprint.

We’re excited about a future where more and more organizations do the same. Still, companies must be aware of greenwashing. It’s one thing to say you’re going to focus on ESG goals and another thing to actually do something about it. Sustainability cannot be just a marketing term. Companies must make it a real focus to set ESG targets, operationalize it and measure the progress against those objectives. Consumers, employees and investors will all demand this kind of transparency with verifiable operational ESG metrics.

So how can organizations move up the sustainability maturity progression and meet their ESG objectives?

It will take a solid plan. That starts with experienced support from world-class consultants, data to help determine a baseline and software to manage the process. Want to learn more? Contact us; we promise it will be worth your time investment.

Paul Marushka recently spoke with Forbes about leadership’s role in championing sustainability.

Read “How to Lead Sustainability Initiatives in 2021” on Forbes.

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