As a sustainability leader of over 30 years and an Independent International Organisation for Certification (IIOC) member, we are delighted to have again partnered with the IIOC and other members on a new white paper.
Focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
Assuring ESG Efforts Improve Sustainability and Business Performance explores how integrating business objectives with ESG initiatives elevates compliance from a requirement to a way of building robust and sustainable organizations.
Businesses must embrace ESG to be competitive but, despite increased spending, many are failing to derive maximum value from their efforts. The paper explores this and more.
Sustainability sector maps
Jeff McDonald, Executive Vice President at SGS, features in the paper and covers many key ESG aspects.
He says: “In the initial stage, companies aren’t able to evaluate all the elements associated with E, S and G. That’s why we spent years developing sustainability sector maps to help them identify the key areas to start with in implementing ESG programs.”
Mr McDonald elaborates on how SGS has been disclosing around sustainability for 15 years and has developed sustainability maps to build support and services for companies implementing ESG programs.
“We can share a generic sustainability materiality assessment for an individual industry that lays out a generic road map and, thus, the groundwork for a conversation,” he mentions, noting that such a map greatly simplifies setting ESG and sustainability priorities and making investment decisions.
Easier ESG reporting
One of the critical things SGS has done is to develop tools to simplify ESG reporting by introducing a certification process companies can use as evidence that they have a fully functioning system in place.
“The certification system covers an audit of the materiality done by the organization and then a full assessment of all applicable ESG requirements that they need to cover and address. Successful organizations receive a certificate as evidence of ongoing compliance and commitment to all ESG areas. Organizations may then proactively disclose such information and performance, where required,” Mr McDonald highlights.
“In SGS, we have also been doing sustainability report assurance since 2003, which verifies that an organization’s sustainability report is materially complete and correct from the information sampled.”
Improving end-user abilities
Introducing new tools is only helpful if the end users understand how to use them. SGS works with companies to develop a road map on key KPIs and offers both e-Learning and detailed training courses to support their journey.
SGS also provides associated certification services around greenhouse gas (GHG) and has developed a platform to help companies collect emissions information from suppliers to improve reporting around Scope 3 emissions.
Getting to grips with materiality
Mr McDonald outlines that materiality assessments are the foundation of the sustainability maps, and SGS spent years developing them as resources for implementing ESG programs.
“A materiality assessment identifies all of the key issues and areas relating to ESG/sustainability for a company, and the company can follow the map to achieve its sustainability goals,” says Mr McDonald.
For example, he says: “We looked at pressures the food industry faces around sustainability, identified the key issues and focus areas, and produced a sustainability map based on generic sustainability materiality assessment.”
The areas for improvement – packaging, disclosure of carbon information, fertilizer use – became clear. With this information, “companies can begin thinking about useful things they can do without a huge assessment,” Mr McDonald explains.
This is especially valuable for small organizations. “They can use these materiality assessments to justify focusing on specific issues and defend themselves with a logical reason to customers and stakeholders.”
Capitalizing on circularity
“Another thing a company can investigate to improve sustainability and its overall business is waste reduction,” Mr McDonald says, explaining that circularity can significantly impact the bottom line.
“We can help companies achieve a 10% increase in efficiency and, at the same time, improve sustainability simply by focusing on reduction in waste,” he adds.
Read the report for more
These are some excerpts from Assuring ESG Efforts Improve Sustainability and Business Performance. Download the full paper.
More information on our ESG services.
For further information, please contact:
Associate Marketing Manager
t: +44 7912426878
We are SGS – the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company. We are recognized as the global benchmark for sustainability, quality and integrity. Our 97,000 employees operate a network of 2,650 offices and laboratories, working together to enable a better, safer and more interconnected world.