Steps to getting started with ESG reporting: Establish a Solid ESG Strategy The easiest way to get started with ESG reporting is to establish an ESG strategy. A good ESG strategy typically follows these general principles and steps: Step 1:…Read full post
GreenBiz23 Insights and Recap
WatchWire’s senior sustainability analyst, Prerana Tirodkar, shares some key insights and takeaways following the GreenBiz23 conference, a premier climate industry event where sustainability professionals and companies gather to share knowledge and promote their role in achieving a greener future.
The role of sustainability in business has seen a rapid transition from a “nice-to-have” to an absolute imperative. A lot has happened in the last 10 months, 10 days, and even 10 minutes when it comes to sustainability progress. The GreenBiz23 conference, which drew a sold-out crowd of both seasoned and first-time attendees, underscored the rise of sustainability as a standard business practice. Throughout the event, compliance regulations, data, and the future of ESG reporting emerged as the dominant topics.
The significance of compliance was made clear on the first day of the event, as attendees huddled in a standing room to receive a bootcamp-style crash course on upcoming SEC climate disclosure rules. Many acknowledged that the proposed regulations, policies, and market shifts promise to make the next two years a somewhat tumultuous time for companies as they transition. Another key remark in the discussion on regulation was the need for businesses to focus on developing an ESG infrastructure that supports data transparency, consistency, and completeness, encompassing points of strategy, governance, metrics, and indicators.
The conference was filled with thought-provoking keynotes by leading practitioners and experts. Joel Makeower’s quote, “We will be judged by the future. What’s the story you are going to tell yourself in the next 10 years?” resonated with many attendees, reminding them of the importance of reflecting on the underlying north star of business and measuring progress towards sustainability goals.
On the second day of the conference, three of the world’s most admired brands – Microsoft, Nike, and Starbucks – came together to call for collective action. The keynote highlighted the need for long-term partnerships and developing an ecosystem that’s flexible enough to allow for changes in strategy as markets evolve. Michael Kobori, Starbucks CSO, even quoted Elvis, saying “A little less conversation and a lot more action” as they ended the session.
The conference ended on day 3 with a standing-room-only panel discussion on “Understanding Double Materiality and the Two-Pillar Reporting System.” The executives in attendance came together to understand the ramifications of the new EU corporate reporting directives on U.S. companies. The bottom line is to not be overwhelmed by the rapidly changing sustainability landscape but to take bite-sized steps and focus on the opportunities, keeping in mind that double materiality is an evolution that is not expected to happen in your first year of reporting. Long-term planning and engagement can help achieve alignment with stakeholders on materiality in the long run.
Overall, GreenBiz allowed like-minded and passionate sustainability professionals the much-needed opportunity to engage with one another in person, and share the weight of each other’s successes and collective struggles. As sustainability professionals, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Burnout from the often disheartening profession was a shared sentiment among attendees. It is important to have compassion for oneself in this field and focus on building capacity for implementation if nothing seems to be getting done in the short term. When leaders push back on ambitious sustainability strategies, they are oftentimes just looking for more information. Therefore, it’s crucial to measure progress toward sustainability goals and provide leaders with the data they need to make informed decisions. Sustainability professionals must be persistent and passionate in their efforts, recognizing that “no” is just a request for more data.
In summary, compliance, SEC, and CSRD regulations, data, and reporting were the buzzwords across the conference. The rise of sustainability in business as usual was evident from the sold-out event and the fact that more than half of those in attendance were first-timers. Businesses play a major role in shaping our future and one speaker duly noted that “the future will be created by chance or by choice.”
The latest EPA eGRID emissions factors, eGRID 2021 released 1/30/23, show NYC and Westchester’s electric grid’s (subregion NYCW) CO2 emission rate (lbs/MWh) increased 29% year-over-year. The US average is up 4% vs. eGRID 2020, with 7 regions down, 2 essentially…Read full post
The role of sustainability in business has seen a rapid transition from a "nice-to-have" to an absolute imperative. A lot has happened in the last 10 months, 10 days, and even 10 minutes when it comes to sustainability progress. The…Read full post
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