ESG Is Changing the Scope of EHS

Meeting ESG requirements is a priority for many organizations, which is changing the role of the EHS professional. 
Meeting ESG requirements is a priority for many organizations, which is changing the role of the EHS professional. 

ESG (environmental, social and governance) has become a global priority. It requires organizations to monitor, measure and report on a number of factors that contribute to the well-being of the global community, such as sustainability, health and safety, diversity and ethical business practices. While many organizations are already making considerable progress in these areas, others are finding themselves under increasing pressure to meet new regulatory requirements and customer expectations. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ebb and flow, many organizations around the world are working hard to come to terms with a future defined by the responsibility of managing risk and protecting the resources that support our societies and economies. The last two years have provided a sudden and severe wake-up call to the entire world. In what seemed like a mere moment, economies and societies locked down, government leadership scrambled to adapt and technology adoption became more critical to economic progress than it had been for the last few decades. No market forecast model in the world from 2019 could possibly have predicted the radical changes that we have seen in the last two years. 

Yet EHS practitioners are nothing if not resilient and adaptive. They live in a world of risk and situational awareness, and they know how a single event can change your perspective of the world forever. They also live in a world of data as they manage the information provided by leading and lagging indicators to put in place preventative measures that can help to avoid accidents before they happen. It is this skill set that has made EHS professionals responsible for much of the leadership related to ESG. 

2021 demonstrated that there are a number of important priority areas for EHS and ESG. 

Technology 

As technology becomes simultaneously complex and democratized, EHS practitioners will find themselves inundated with data from a ubiquitous army of sensors. Innovations like ESG software, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile technology will be critical components in turning masses of data into manageable information. 

Risk 

The COVID-19 pandemic was a stark reminder that risk can be found anywhere, and that high-impact/low-probability events, while rare, do happen eventually. Understanding how to mitigate risk and preparing defenses against high-impact scenarios will continue to be important for every organization. 

EHS Supports ESG 

Many EHS professionals are taking on new responsibilities for managing ESG. While EHS considerations are a natural component of ESG, the expanded scope of the EHS role will require a collaborative effort throughout the organization to meet these new requirements. 

Increased Regulatory Requirements 

As ESG and climate-related issues become increasingly urgent, governments are moving quickly on regulatory action to enforce environmental protection and sustainability.  

Our latest Insight Report, Top-of-Mnd for EHS and ESG: Past, Present and Future, examines all these topics in greater depth and looks forward to developments that should be on your priority list for 2022. Download it now.

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