CHICAGO, Sep 23, 2019 — FrameworkESG Founder/CEO Kate Rebernak delivered the keynote address at The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) World Fertilizer Conference. The annual conference draws more than 700 delegates from 60 countries that represent all sectors of the fertilizer industry. Speakers explored the disruption in the fertilizer industry, from the impact of the Green New Deal to the risks of climate change and related policies.
Kate’s remarks focused on Environmental Social Governance (ESG) factors that demand the fertilizer industry’s attention, such as innovations needed on soil and water quality, the capacity to reduce atmospheric carbon through healthy soils, and the social purpose expectations of a new generation of employees.
She pointed out that since 2000, land temperature in the US has risen by 50% more than ocean temperature, and is even higher in Europe and Asia. For each 1.8-degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature, crop yields can drop by as much as 10%. Desertification, land degradation, water scarcity, vegetation loss, and other factors resulting from a warming planet profoundly affect agriculture and food production, while land management and reducing greenhouse gases through soils can play a major role in avoiding catastrophic climate scenarios.
Kate advises executives and boards across all industries to build ESG factors and climate change resilience into their long-term business strategies. ESG integration enhances a company’s financial performance, risk profile, and trust with stakeholders. In addition, it helps companies attract and retain the best talent, with a majority of US millennials and Gen Z seeking to put purpose in their careers ahead of profit and to work for companies that are actively addressing climate change. Engaged employees aligned with a company culture of purpose boost a firm’s capacity to innovate and thrive.
As a leader in ESG management consulting since the early days of the concept itself, FrameworkESG has helped scores of companies, many of them global brands, to improve their sustainability performance and create value through performance on ESG issues. Kate recommends the following six steps for executives and boards to understand how ESG affects their business:
- Know where you are through a materiality analysis. Inventory your existing activities related to ESG issues. Benchmark your peers and your stakeholders’ expectations.
- Chart where you want to go in your ESG journey. Prioritize your company’s ESG issues and aims.
- Start making gains by setting achievable goals. Move the needle and engage the company culture.
- Use ESG as a lens through which to assess and drive performance.
- Engage stakeholders and partners to deepen your understanding of how ESG impacts your business across the value chain.
- Communicate transparently about your ESG efforts. Engage honestly and authentically with internal and external stakeholders about successes and challenges. Lay the foundation to respond nimbly and remain proactive about ESG issues over the long-term.