Achieving business advantage through structured ESG
A life sciences company found its clients were making requests for information about corporate sustainability and responsibility practices and metrics it was unable to answer. And, with its IPO imminent, the company recognized that it would be facing a higher level of scrutiny from investors and other stakeholders as a public company.
While the company felt it maintained a responsible culture, it lacked formalized policies, data tracking, communications, and management structure for those matters. It engaged FrameworkESG to plan and execute a roadmap to create cohesive integration of ESG considerations into its business strategy and operations.
A prioritized action plan
We began by setting a plan to ensure the client could meet its customers’ immediate expectations and increased investor scrutiny. Future steps would then further formalize its ESG management structure to better manage strategic risks and opportunities. Our work included:
- Developing, briefing, and facilitating an oversight body composed of C-suite and other senior leaders guided by a formal charter.
- Creating an ESG vision and framework to serve as a platform for strategy and reporting.
- Conducting a materiality analysis to identify our client’s priority issues to address.
- Writing the company’s first ESG policy, which defined its standards on such matters as human rights, environmental management, and ethical research practices.
- Identifying strategies for our client to integrated ESG factors in its compliance and enterprise risk management functions.
- Designing an assessment to measure the ESG performance of our client’s suppliers
- Launching an annual ESG reporting program for the company informed by disclosure standards including GRI and SASB.
- Identifying issues where employees felt a strong sense of purpose and creating partnerships and opportunities for them to participate in volunteer initiatives that can make a difference for communities in need of their professional expertise.
Tangible return on investment
These efforts were being put in place as the company was simultaneously achieving strong financial growth and recognition in its industry. As an acknowledged leader in quality and a leadership place in its segment, the company has found its commitment to incorporating ESG into its management systems of great value to both its operational performance and reputation. For example, as a result of FrameworkESG’s work, the company has:
- Won at least one new sizeable contract in part due to its improved sustainability score on a client’s assessment.
- Greater visibility into risks in its supply chain, which it is addressing proactively.
- Identified a powerful new tool for creating greater cohesion and engagement across its workforce, a large part of which has limited interaction with peers due to being embedded at client sites.
- Established regular dialogue and transparency with its board of directors on its ESG progress, fulfilling an important emerging responsibility for boards.
- Launched a set of valuable goals aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as improving HIV research infrastructure in Africa and increasing female representation in its senior leadership.
- A centralized view of ESG performance data via Tableau-based dashboards.
- The highest Bloomberg ESG disclosure score in its industry, as well as improved standing across key ratings platforms such as CDP, MSCI, and EcoVadis.