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Sustainability and the Journey towards Net Zero

  • 2 Mins

With the pressure to address corporate responsibility increasing, it is easy for organisations to feel overwhelmed with the steps they can take to create a sustainability programme that has a tangible impact on their journey towards net zero. 

ESG, often bundled as sustainability, refers to interconnected elements or issues that are Environmental, Social, & Governance in nature. While these issues are non-financial performance indicators, an organisation’s ESG efforts help investors determine its impact materiality, i.e. the impact that an organisation’s business practices might have on the economy, environment, and people. 

Additionally, a company’s ESG performance can create tangible financial benefits and is, as a result, being seen in the same light as its financial materiality, with a positive ESG performance bringing in higher returns and reduced financial risks associated with losses.

A path to sustainability

The United Nations estimates that an annual spend of USD 5 trillion (6% of the world GDP) needs to be made by governments and organisations in the private sector in order to make changes to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.  A recent IBM survey also found that about 67% of the respondents were inclined to apply for jobs with companies that were socially responsible and sustainable. These numbers indicate the pressing need for organisations to set up their sustainability programmes and reporting. 

Launching a sustainability programme can be an overwhelming task but is best accomplished with a phased approach. It begins with determining any components and practises your organisation already has in place. This could be as simple as looking at your organisation’s back office services or your records consolidation and digitisation processes, to determine any and all efforts are taken to sustainably achieve the task at hand. This process can help delineate a sustainability programme with structured ESG goals. 

The next steps would be to create a broad mission statement with an end goal, that is based on the organisation’s core values. This will further structure the ESG goals while determining the internal and external stakeholders. For example, creating an initiative around sustainably implementing a records consolidation and digitisation programme that maximises cost savings while reducing the number of records stored onsite and offsite storage. Digitisation of the records would reduce the usage of paper, lowering the carbon footprint. Implementing a cloud-based storage system would not only enhance accessibility and efficiency but also minimise the space needed for storage and in turn save energy. 

Documenting and formalising all proposals and initiatives being implemented is a key initiative that will aid in not only aligning your organisation’s ESG goals with the SCC & CSRD frameworks and standards, both voluntary and certifiable, but also create a framework to evolve the ESG programme as the laws around it change.  

Best practices in ESG

While launching an ESG programme is best achieved through a phased approach, there are some best practices to be followed to ensure that a successful programme is established. This starts with first determining the materiality of the sustainability programme and the initiatives, followed by gaining leadership support. Sustainability is a broad concept and covers a variety of issues (environmental, ethical, governance) and determining materiality i.e. the relevance or significance of what is being achieved through the ESG programme, helps highlight the issues important to your organisation. Understanding the issues that are important to your organisation makes gaining leadership support easier which in turn enables the effective implementation of the ESG programme. 

For example, the Health Sector Climate Pledge by the Department of Health and Human Services is pushing the healthcare industry to cut their corporate emissions by 50% by 2030. For organisations in the healthcare sector, creating practices that work towards tightening operations, supply chains, and products or services used will help reach this outlined goal and pave the way for easier leadership buy-in. 

There are many office services and records and information governance offerings by third-party providers that are effortless ways to introduce sustainability and best practices into any organisation’s processes. For example, Digital Mailroom Service is a quintessential example of a way to reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint. The service is set up to scan, digitise, and categorise paper-based documents reducing carbon emissions. 

An additional course of action for an organisation is to optimise its records management processes. Partnering with a provider to manage and streamline records management and storage practices can not only introduce a sustainable measure into the organisation’s process but also reduce expenditures, increase operational efficiency, and streamline compliance. 


Integrating environmental, social, and governance issues into the business strategy of an organisation is now essential to ensure long-term success. Employing effective and reliable practices to understand your organisation’s sustainability performance makes it easier to track your progress and make the necessary changes to achieve your organisation’s ESG goals. 

When the ESG efforts and programmes are well integrated they can lower an organisation’s carbon footprint, improve workflows, and uncover new opportunities, and at the same time, reduce financial risk and increase the longevity of an organisation.

Looking to introduce more sustainable measures and processes in your organisation? Contact our team to set up a commitment-free current process analysis and future back office processes recommendations plan for your consideration.

The contents of this article are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions.

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