Thursday, July 11, 2024

Building a sustainable future: Empowering organizations through ESG training and capacity building.

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The world is undergoing rapid social and environmental change which is affecting how companies

conduct their business. Consumer and investor expectations around environmental, social and

governance (ESG) issues, as well as the related global guidelines and national regulatory frameworks,

are fast evolving, and companies are increasingly judged on their social and environmental footprint.

A positive social and environmental footprint strengthens positioning within existing supply chains

and is increasingly a differentiating factor in new business development.

There is a rising need for Environmental, Social and Governance training as companies seek to

address new regulations that require new skills to meet environmental compliance targets. Most

organisations in various fields are undergoing vital training to meet the demands of tomorrow and to

ensure their commercial future.

For organizations looking into operationalize their ESG efforts moving forward, training should be a

key part of your strategy. ESG training provides two key functions; one is serving your company

needs today and the other is serving your company’s needs for tomorrow. ESG training is needed to

address current business objectives as they apply to existing environmental regulation and to

prepare the company for what will be increasingly strict regulatory and economic demands of the

future. It can be offered in person and via digital channels inclusive of interactive elements and case

studies, making the content relatable and engaging. Moreover, it varies as organizations have

different needs, leading to customization as a means to address them.

As regulatory frameworks expand, develop and innovate, all companies need to be aware of how

ESG issues impact on their businesses, directly and indirectly. Conducting ESG training informs

participants about the evolving regulatory landscape as well as the reporting initiatives that provide

sources of ESG-related data. With this data, individuals need to be educated on the best ways to

retain information. Hence, finding effective and actionable ways to report on this.

As the benefits of ESG become widely recognized, ESG ratings are a frequent topic of discussion

among companies and investors. Companies want to know their rating and assess their performance

from an ESG perspective but often lack the understanding of how the rating is derived and how the

results should be interpreted. Without understanding the rating methodology, it can be difficult for

companies to get the most value from the information they receive. ESG Training will take a

company’s ESG knowledge to the next level by teaching your employees about the importance of an

ESG Risk Rating and guiding them through the process.

Employees make or break the success of any ESG strategy, as they are interfaced with customers,

supply chain managers, or product designers. Training on ESG provides a critical understanding of

relevant environmental, social, and governance issues that affect the business. This understanding

enables employees to contribute to their respective activities and build buy-in for the firm’s strategy.

Additionally, it is an opportunity to demonstrate the company’s commitment to ESG to all

employees. It brings ESG out of a silo, involving only a small group of staff, into a process that is

deeply embedded in the organisation’s culture. Leading to an increase employee engagement,

employee retention, and ESG performance.

Language is also a key factor as there can often be confusion around the terms used in ESG with

people unsure exactly what social-inclusion, gender-neutrality or governance means, or the

difference between words such as net zero, carbon offsetting and low emissions. For training to be

effective it is important to establish and use common terms, definitions, and points of knowledge so

that everyone is talking and working to the same language. Effective ESG training can build a

common culture of understanding throughout an organisation that is essential to effective eco-

awareness and regulatory compliance.

Globally, the issues that relate to creating a sustainable business are complex, comprehending them

and implementing sensible solutions is a major challenge. From understanding a company’s

emissions and how to offset them, choosing the most sustainable materials and technology,

avoiding greenwashing, to comprehending how your supply chains might contribute to biodiversity

loss or slavery. These are just a few examples of issues that need staff from all over the business to

be aligned and informed enough to work together to create solutions. Firm-wide ESG education is

the best approach one can take to equip people with knowledge and tools they need to be a catalyst

of the change we need to see on this planet.

ESG starts at the top and core knowledge is essential for all. Every stakeholder needs to understand

that sustainability is both a key risk for the business and an opportunity for value creation. Training

addresses vital environmental and compliance issues but, equally and importantly, it’s also about

change management for the whole organisation. What companies train for today will prepare them

for the demands of tomorrow.

Dr. Edward Mungai
Dr. Edward Mungaihttp://www.edwardmungai.com/
The writer, Dr. Edward Mungai, is a global sustainability expert. He is the Lead Consultant and Partner at Impact Africa Consulting Ltd (IACL), a leading sustainability and strategy advisory in Africa. He is also the Chief Editor at Africa Sustainability Matters. He can be contacted via mailto:edward@edwardmungai.com

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