The ‘Social’ in ESG: Increased attention brings its own set of challenges

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Social sustainability is seeing increased attention from various parties, but this can lead to its own set of complications for organizations operating in heavy industries. A webinar by IsoMetrix and Frostbyte Consulting promises to assist in coming to terms with some of them.

When it comes to the world of risk management for heavy industries, there are many acronyms for stakeholders to wrap their heads around. EHS, GRC, HSEQ, OHH, QM, SLO, HSSE…the risk-related acronym list can seem endless. One such term that has garnered lots of attention of late is ESG.

Environment, Social and Governance, commonly abbreviated to ESG, has become a hot topic within the risk management arena over the last few years and is getting its fair share of attention from both industry bodies, as well as the investment stakeholder community.

According to the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) for example, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters are now considered material risks. IOSCO emphasizes that ESG matters, though sometimes characterized as non-financial, may have a material short-term and long-term impact on the business operations of the issuers, as well as on risks and returns for investors and their investment and voting decisions.1

To further illustrate the increasing importance of ESG, a recent Forbes article mentioned that 'an Agility PR Solutions survey found that 92% of consumers wanted companies to fully incorporate socially responsible practices — such as protecting the elderly, eradicating diseases and increasing access to quality education — into their business identity.' Furthermore, the same article goes on to say that 'In 2019, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) revealed that 93% of the world’s largest companies by revenue already report on their ESG performance.' 2

Perhaps one of the reasons for the popularity of ESG is that recent events have highlighted the need to manage social issues. Events and social movements such as Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the Covid-19 pandemic have shifted attention onto people and the various ways in which our lives are being affected, shaped and transformed by the various socio-cultural, political and environmental forces surrounding us. We’re becoming more aware of the influence which corporations are exerting on us, whether it’s the polarization and surveillance fears commonly associated with Big Tech, or the environmental impacts as a result of climate change.

Issues like these are pushing the ‘S’ in ESG to the forefront of many people’s minds, for both the companies navigating this increasingly complex environment as well as the investors seeking to invest in them. The speed at which bad publicity travels in our globalized world and the reputational damage it can cause, combined with the bewildering array of social issues to consider nowadays, means that organizations more than ever need a comprehensive system to be able to identify, track and manage the social governance issues in their orbits.

The IsoMetrix solution

The IsoMetrix Social Sustainability solution simplifies sustainability management and reporting, making it easier for companies in the extractive industries to identify and manage social impacts and risks, associated stakeholders, and any relevant operational data.

The solution includes Engagement and Grievance Management modules, Economic Development modules and Land Access and Resettlement as well as certain management modules (i.e. incidents, communication) as standard.

“Because IsoMetrix is a flexible technology, our standard Social Sustainability solution template caters for a wide range of management and reporting requirements across multiple territories, such as North America, Africa and Australia,” explains Robin Bolton, ESG Principal at IsoMetrix.

The solution handles the inherent complexity of Social Sustainability Management and Reporting requirements by linking the risks source and social modules to allow for an integrated view between Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS), Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and Social.

“We standardized our approach to Social Sustainability, using the lessons we have learned over 25 years of implementing customized solutions to customers in mining and oil and gas across many countries,” says Robin. “We combined international best practice, coupled with these lessons and built them into a solution template. This has improved our standard features and implementation process. We are more efficient and can also offer better support to our customers.”

Learn more about social sustainability with IsoMetrix and Frostbyte

IsoMetrix and Frostbyte Consulting are hosting a webinar on 5 October titled: How to Build a Social Sustainability Program That Fosters Organizational Success.

In this webinar, Frostbyte Consulting’s VP of Sustainability, Andrea Korney, will teach you how to build a world-class social sustainability program that contributes to the bottom line. IsoMetrix’s Robin Bolton will then demonstrate how our stakeholder-centric software solution can be used to ensure all social obligations are met on time and within budget.

This promises to be an interesting and informative session on one of the risk management world’s hot topics right now.

If you’re interested but can't attend the live broadcast, register now and we'll send you the recording so you can watch it at a time and place that suits you.