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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 organizations to feel overwhelmed with the steps they can take to create a sustainability program 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 organization’s ESG efforts help investors determine its impact materiality, i.e. the impact that an organization’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 organizations 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 who were socially responsible and sustainable. These numbers indicate the pressing need for organizations to set up their sustainability programs and reporting. 

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

The next steps would be to create a broad mission statement with an end goal, that is based on the organization’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 digitization program that maximizes cost savings while reducing the number of records stored onsite and offsite storage. Digitization 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 minimize the space needed for storage and in turn save energy. 

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

Best practices in ESG

While launching an ESG program is best achieved through a phased approach, there are some best practices to be followed to ensure that a successful program is established. This starts with first determining the materiality of the sustainability program 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 program, helps highlight the issues important to your organization. Understanding the issues that are important to your organization makes gaining leadership support easier which in turn enables the effective implementation of the ESG program. 

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 organizations 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 organization’s processes. For example, Digital Mailroom Service is a quintessential example of a way to reduce an organization’s carbon footprint. The service is set up to scan, digitize, and categorize paper-based documents reducing carbon emissions. 

An additional course of action for an organization is to optimize 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 organization’s process but also reduce expenditures, increase operational efficiency, and streamline compliance. 


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

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

Looking to introduce more sustainable measures and processes in your organization? 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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