The ESG Imperative: Key Takeaways
A Path for Success
From defining processes to developing people skills, organizations are taking steps to make environmental, social and governance strategy a reality.
From climate change to complex social justice issues, the pressure is on organizations to get serious about their impact on local and global communities — and how they drive meaningful change. But many companies are struggling to develop the practices and people skills needed to bring their environmental, social and governance (ESG) visions into reality.
A new special report from PMI — "The ESG Imperative: Turning Words Into Action” —takes the pulse of the ESG movement in 2022, highlighting relevant research, key regulatory drivers and hands-on insights from ESG project leaders who are working to turn words into action and intent into impact.
It is clear that many organizations are still reckoning with gaps and indecision in their ESG efforts. For instance, 70% of respondents to a Deloitte survey this year have yet to determine how climate change will impact their company’s operations, supply chain and customers.
However, some organizations are overcoming challenges to launch ambitious ESG projects — and deliver results such as improving diversity on their boards, limiting the carbon footprint of supply chains, and removing toxic waste from the community water supply. For these ESG leaders, good practices include:
- Audits and assessments to identify ESG gaps and opportunities.
- Integrating process and documentation to keep ESG values and goals “front of mind” for project teams and the entire organization.
- Alignment of ESG frameworks with clear performance metrics that are both internally and externally driven.
- “Managing up” to ensure sponsors and executives are actively engaged.
- Feedback loops and dedicated liaisons to build connections with communities impacted by projects.
For organizations that find ESG success, the benefits go beyond the bottom line. They are realizing a deeper return on investment (ROI) that is intrinsically linked to their reputation with consumers, relationships with partners, and ability to recruit and retain talented people. Innovation and inspired teamwork are also positive, tangible byproducts of ESG efforts.
Indeed, empowering project professionals with ESG knowledge and experience — and upskilling existing talent — is a top priority for ESG-driven companies. Must-have power skills include creative problem-solving, critical thinking with empathy, and the ability to influence all levels of stakeholders.
Like never before, a strong commitment to ESG isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do, the report concludes. By establishing core values, diving into data to track progress and enabling project leaders to become changemakers, companies can begin to turn intent into action and deliver projects that make the world a better place.