From aspiration to operation: impressions from the NAEM Impact Conference

From aspiration to operation: impressions from the NAEM Impact Conference

On 6th to 8th August, I attended the National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM) Impact Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The NAEM is a professional association that empowers corporate leaders to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces and promote global sustainability. It’s a great and welcoming community of passionate and committed experts.

Featuring peer case studies, breakout sessions and keynote presenters from the likes of the City of Milwaukee, General Motors, IBM, Novartis and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the conference brought together sustainability and health and safety experts from across the world. Its aim: to help business leaders create actionable strategies to operationalize sustainability goals and create business value.

Transparency in triplicate

Entitled Impact 19: From Aspiration to Operation, this year’s conference discussed ways in which companies can engage investors and build a robust sustainability strategy, outlining the emerging issues for 2020. Three elements formed the basis of these processes:

  • Transparency: expectations on corporate transparency have changed. With evidence mounting that companies who perform better on environmental, social and governance (ESG) also perform better financially, stakeholders are increasingly demanding full disclosure. If a company doesn't disclose, information about it will be available through other sources, but the company won't be in control of its narrative and how it is framed. It’s therefore in an organization’s interests to take charge of its disclosure and use corporate openness to strengthen its brand perception.

 

  • Data: agenda-setting has to be data-driven. Aspirational goals can sound wonderful, but they mean little without the data to back them up and they’re not credible in the eyes of the investors and the board. Organizations need to keep an eye on what’s happening in society, understanding the risks and opportunities that external events present to their operations. This means having an understanding of what is relevant – through a robust process that identifies material risks and opportunities and monitors them over time.  A process backed up by data, excluding fads and noise.

 

  • Community: organizations need to socialize their goals and strategy, successes and pitfalls. Open and honest engagement with stakeholders is key to success. Board and senior management engagement is important, but it’s not enough. By building a governance system with its community in mind – including mid-management – and making sure that this vision is properly implemented, a company can ensure a consistent approach to sustainability that is understood and embedded in the organization.

 

 

Datamaran and ERM: how to make materiality more strategic

 

You can get out much more from your materiality analysis than a nice looking visualization for your report. Together with Datamaran’s partner Environmental Resources Management (ERM), we presented in the Solution Center on how leading companies can use Datamaran’s platform and ERM’s advice to make materiality strategic.

 

Materiality is generally seen as the cardinal principle to defining strategic priorities. However, it is often confined to reporting – and thereby disconnected from risk management, strategic planning and investor engagement. It’s all about the theory, and not the practice. In order for teams to work together in an integrated way to generate actionable insights for investor relations, goal-setting, risk identification, assessment and mitigation, companies need a robust materiality analysis that is data-driven; supported by sound processes that monitor the evolution of material issues; and operationalized through expert advice.
If you’d like to find out more about the NAEM Impact Conference, or if you need support in setting your company’s vision and integrating sustainability goals into business operations, please get in touch.


Share this
Materiality of ESG issues takes center stage at US congress​
Related Posts:

SDG8: Economic growth for sustainable future

Although the number of workers living in extreme poverty is showing a substantial decline over the past 25 years, and the middle class now makes up more than 34 percent of total employment, the world economy is still facing serious challenges ahead.

Initiatives and obstacles to reaching SDG4

Every single country in the world is challenged to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. One of those goals, SDG4, is concerned with education policy issues which are not part of the international development agenda, but are of great value to the OECD member and partner countries.

Are bike lanes are as sustainable as they seem?

In the Strong Towns podcast, “Are Bike Lanes White Lanes,” speaker and author of the book “Bike Lanes are White Lanes,” Melody Hoffmann identifies a critical urban design problem in bike lane infrastructure—addressing in-depth how bike lanes are not as “sustainable” as they seem, and can often deepen issues of classism, racism, and displacement.

Thinking about flight shaming, ethical travel and consumption options

So it seems traveling by train for longer distances takes around 10x longer than flight but is around 10x less carbon intensive. So yes, traveling by train can be a good choice for activists like Greta Thunberg, but also for regular people. But in another article I read that Greta Thunberg wants to avoid flying to the US and travel by a boat.

How can complexity science improve education?

One frequent mistake in social innovations and education, is to assume one-fits-all approach to solving social problems. We need to realize that managing in complex systems requires radically different tools than managing in complicated systems or chaotic systems.

Millennials are driving interest in sustainable investment

Sustainable, socially responsible or ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing is on the rise. A recent survey from Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing has found that millennials are leading the way with nearly nine in ten (86%) of them being interested in sustainable investing.

How can Slovakia contribute to global prosperity after #AllForJan?

Slovakia is a relatively young country, still in its twenties. For most of our recent history since the late 1990s we prided ourselves in being a “Tatra Tiger”, a fast growing emerging economy with a strong manufacturing base (think Volkswagen) and highly skilled and productive workers at business process offshoring centers (think Accenture).

Interview with Andrea Casadio, the creator of AllerGenio

How to help people who are affected by allergies and food intolerance?
A search engine can identify allergens in a database of more than eighteen thousand ingredients, scientifically validated by the laboratory of Human Health Sciences, University of Florence: this is AllerGenio , online platform which is a great help for allergic and intolerant people , since it recognizes the substances to be avoided in food.

You are What You Eat and Why Do You Eat?

The idea that you are what you eat has been a prevailing belief in many cultures throughout the history. For example, the ancient Aztecs would eat the brain of their rivals because they believed it gave them the wisdom and knowledge of the enemy.

Assuming global responsibility by closing all the loops

Closing all the loops is a very similar idea of assuming global responsibility – for the whole of our actions but also for people in faraway places. Closing all the loops thus shall be also an integral part of Agenda 2030 and applies to various Sustainable Development Goals, beyond the SDG12 of Responsible Consumption.

ASSOCIAZIONE RiSvolta – The Colors of Rights

The RiSvolta Association is a non profit social promotion association that aims to build a society in which human and civil rights are recognized, promoted and guaranteed for all citizens, without discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other personal and social condition, in line with what is established by Article 3 of the Italian Constitution.

Sustainable modes of city

Creating an intelligent human society enables the development of sustainable cities in terms of environmental protection and economic and technological development. Sustainable cities rely on the digital city infrastructure to build intelligent buildings, transport systems, schools, and businesses.

Risk less as you go sustainable

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has gained a growing importance, during the last years, among academics, managers and citizens and its impact on firm’s performance is the center of several debates worldwide. As a matter of fact, according to the majority of CEOs worldwide, CSR is considered an “important” or “very important” task for their firms (UN Global Compact-Accenture).

Towards Sharing Economy: Joy of a shared toy

With each passing day, the world is more and more convinced that the economy system we are used to living in, is not sustainable. Climate change and resource depletion, followed by enormous consumption are some of the main problems that the world is facing nowadays. But now, more than ever, there is an emergence of companies that are moving further away from this way of doing business and might have a solution for these problems. Those companies are the main representatives of sharing economy.

7 CSR Trends that will dominate 2019

2019 will be a promising year of corporate citizenry and impact. Reporting, Community engagement, employee training, betterment campaigns and market feedback are all aligning to support a higher level of CSR activity than ever before.

The Collettivo Donne Matera

The goal of the Collettivo is to contribute to the creation of a society that is as fair and inclusive as possible where social support, public health and education services, economic resources and employment opportunities can be guaranteed and adequate to a dignified life for all.

There are results in SDG action!

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 provides insight of the progress in the third year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Slovak SDG Priorities

On 13 November we at the Pontis Foundation organized our annual CEE CSR Summit in Bratislava and also held a discussion roundtable on SDGs.

Getting to know “Il Sicomoro”, a Social Cooperative in Matera

“Il Sicomoro” is the Italian translation of the sycamore, which looks like a fig tree and it is very popular in the Middle East. It is a common “character” along the streets in Palestine, where it leaves splashes of colour on those biblical landscapes, apparently very similar to the ones in our Lucania.

Sustainable Cooking

When talking about SDG2, we always talk about how to prevent world hunger and what can be done to save people from it. We talk about ways of helping people who don't have enough to eat and improving the access of all people to a healthy diet, but we rarely speak about one way that can also have a positive impact on ending hunger – sustainable cooking.

That’s Absurd! The “Assurd” risto-pub experience with sustainability

On average, income inequality increased by 11 per cent in developing countries between 1990 and 2010.
Disability is referenced in various parts of the SDGs and specifically in those related to growth and employment, education, inequality, accessibility of human settlements, as well as data collection and monitoring of the SDGs.

The Conad sustainability challenge

Conad, the colossal of large retailers, has joined the Ecologistico2 program, devised by ECR Italia, the association that regroups the main production and distribution companies to improve the processes and efficiency of the supply chain, from the producer to the consumer.

Pagpag

Have you ever wondered whatever happened to the left-over food you did not finish in fast food restaurants? You may think they would have been thrown away and discarded for good. But what happens next is something you ought to know.

Community of people to share ideas and projects

Among the trends related to sustainability that have been proliferating in the last years, certainly the shared creative spaces stand out. One of these is “Casa Netural”, a house in Matera in southern Italy, hosting people from all around the world...

SDGs Integration: How to Do It Right?

Current tendency towards sustainability promotes versatile ways for responsibility and integration of SDGs into business models, organizational culture, policy making, urban planning and spatial development...

The Decades Long Quest for a Digital Aristotle

Aristotle was probably the best tutor in the world and the most knowledgeable person of his times. But still his student, Alexander the Great, went on to conquer half of the world. Being smart it seems, doesn’t automatically translate into being...

SDG 2: Sustainable Food Production

Agriculture’s enormous energy consumption is related not only to food production, but also in large part to food distribution. The environmental benefits of organic food production can be lost if the food is constantly being transported thousands of miles to reach consumers. Buying local seasonal food can be an...

Collaboration for the SDGs

Monitoring and encouragement of SDG practices at European level is a challenge, as it is both international and national level activity. The alliance SDG Watch Europe has a goal to hold governments and the EU to account for the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. It consists of...

The Sustainable Economy Is a Donut!

The objective number 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals aims to ensure sustainable patterns of consumption and production. Why is this an indispensable requirement for sustainable development? Because it is estimated that the world population will reach 9.6 billion by 2050, with this figure we would need the...

Closing the Loop: A Key Business Model for SDG 12

"Unless we go to Circular it's game over for the planet; it's game over for society." These are the opening words of the world’s first feature-length documentary film on the circular economy, called Closing the Loop, due for public release on Earth...

'Microcredit' to Serve the Sustainable Development

Since 2001, the Italian Banking Association has undertaken an in-depth study on the subject of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and its strategic importance within the modern banking business model. Consequently, in recent years an...

The Need to Innovate Beauty Industry

Have you ever thought of the highly underestimated cost we pay for everything we consume? And I am not talking here about the price we pay for solely acquiring goods. What I have in mind is slightly more overlooked and all-encompassing, which is each product's afterlife cost, e.g. the amount of resources it takes to...

The Future of Sustainable Finance

Last week I attended the London meeting of the The Future of Sustainable Finance at the G7. The panel of knowledgeable experts provided a fascinating discussion. It touched on many of the areas raised in the detailed 2018 report by the EU’s High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance. For financial institutions, the report...

Are Sustainable Development Goals Material?

The SDGs already achieved the significant work of creating a common platform of targets and indicators shared across governments, institutions, academia, investors, media, and business. And this is not rhetoric. In the past few months, I’ve been in several conversations with business, academia, and investors concerning...

Can We Make Zero Poverty World or Not?

Despite the on-trend rhetoric and optimism, the chances of (all but) ending absolute poverty in our generation are slim. The chances of ending poverty altogether are zero. The closer we get to ending extreme poverty, the harder it is going to be to do it. We're going to have to pretty much end violent conflict...

SDGs for the Generation Z

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in 2015 as the universal call to action to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet and ensure inclusion, peace and prosperity for all by 2030. Agenda 2030 is playing a very important role in shaping tomorrow’s living conditions. However, without active individual...

Focus on Sustainable Cities and Communities

Cities have often been a vehicle for generating new ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity and social development, and up to the present they have also enabled people to improve their social and economic conditions. However, many challenges persist to keep city centres as places not dangerous for both lands...

Changing Mobility Habits for a Healthier Life

Contributing to the third Sustainable Development Goal capital city of Lithuania is creating a sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP) for its inhabitants. SUMP has to encompass various mobility modes and variations and one of the themes of the city strategy is to plan how to change people’s behaviour in mobility...

Food and the Sustainable Development Goals

Food and agriculture feature prominently in many of the Sustainable Development Goals, because they are interconnected with almost all aspects of economy, environment and society, from hunger, malnutrition, desertification, sustainable water use, loss of biodiversity, to overconsumption, obesity and...