There is a never-ending amount of information available on ESG (Environment, Social and Governance). Many companies have replaced their Corporate Social Responsibility report with either a sustainability or an ESG report. Most look visually appealing and provide a significant amount of information about who the company is and what it’s doing.
However, it’s difficult for stakeholders to know if what’s in the report is truthful and if the company is walking its talk or if the company is “greenwashing”, something Forbes describes as “a form of misleading propaganda to try to promote the perception that a company’s products, objectives or policies were environmentally friendly, so as to increase its profits.”
Gaining stakeholders’ trust by creating credible ESG reports is critical to avoid the accusation of greenwashing, and it is especially important for the highly scrutinized oil and gas sector.
It’s looking like some type of international ESG reporting standard is on the horizon to help create that trust. Every ESG-related message from the big banks or insurance companies suggests that the pace at which ESG is evolving is picking up, not slowing down, and keeping up with the new requirements is half the battle -- and that’s if your company is not already behind.
I asked ESG consultant Shauna Mason what she sees as the biggest challenge companies face with their ESG strategy, and she told me, “Keeping up with what’s expected and ensuring your strategy has real substance, with quantifiable data backing everything up so that your ESG reporting isn’t considered “greenwashing”. The standards have risen so high, so quickly, that it’s a challenge for individuals like myself who live ESG 24/7 to keep up. I can’t image how hard it is for companies and their employees trying to manage their ESG strategy off the side of their desks”.
Having the right software solution can assist. Instead of using spreadsheets to capture all the data, a software program can coordinate it. Using in-house software that produces auditable, real-time reports can save your company money - and frustration - in the long run.
This is where a software solution like GreenWorks Environmental Partnership provides its real value. The only Western Canada-based ESG software company (the next closest being headquartered in Montreal), GreenWorks provides a centralized database to connect your company’s operations and your supply chain’s ESG-relevant data so it’s easy to measure and report.
Shauna Mason is excited about the potential to use her 17 years of ESG expertise in combination with GreenWorks software: “The GreenWorks ESG solution has been a game changer,” says Shauna. “The efficiency and accuracy allow me to produce reliable and meaningful reports in a fraction of the time, all while staying relevant with the latest reporting frameworks.”
“The genesis of the GreenWorks ESG solution was based on my belief that the ESG movement is the best thing to happen to responsible industries in responsible countries, such as the Canadian oil and gas industry,” explains GreenWorks’ founder Demian Newman. “Seeing how this industry is embracing the opportunity is fantastic, and now it’s up to software solutions like ours, combined with the many ESG consulting companies we’ve partner with, to help with the enormous workload moving forward.”
Having an easy-to-use software solution is useful for companies of all sizes, but particularly small shops that don’t have a dedicated, internal ESG resource. For a “mom and pop” oilfield service company like NuWave Industries and their president Tim Sharp, they “see the potential to promote our environmentally friendly services, in addition to our fantastic safety and employee history, but fitting what we do into these ESG guidelines is a daunting task, to say the very least.
“How to even get started was the biggest challenge for us. It’s taken a real team effort to get us started on our ESG journey, and now that we’re over that hurdle, we’re so pumped to share our full ESG strategy in Q1 of 2022.We are excited to see the results our initial stakeholder engagement has provided.
“If we can’t automate the majority of the ESG strategy then it’d be impossible for any SME [small and medium enterprises] – as well as some large caps - to get out an initial ESG report, much less improve upon it each year.”
The goal is not a report but an improved company. Use all the ESG tools available to your advantage and create your own story and reputation… before someone creates it and controls it for you.
This series is specific to the Canadian Oil and Gas Industry and explores how ESG will impact the industry moving forward, how the sector can embrace it, and what reporting tools are available. This is article five of six.
Deidra is not employed by the companies or organizations referenced in the article.