ARTICLE • 5 min

Getting started: 5 steps to your ESG journey

Socialsuite helps micro to medium sized companies to create value through ESG reporting. The initial reason to start ESG reporting is often to respond to demands from stakeholders. However, in building ESG practices across their business, many companies report an easier path to a much wider investor base, risk mitigation, new market opportunities, and long-term sustained value generation.

Socialsuite’s Chief Impact Officer, Dr. Siegenbeek van Heukelom says the microcaps he works with already have ESG data  they publicly disclose – often more than they realize, but they’ve never been collated in one place before. “There could be much you’re already doing. This is about making it visible to the market. Let’s find the quick wins. Then we can talk about how you can progress and improve your ESG credentials over time.”

Many companies start ESG reporting in response to stakeholder demands, but it often turns out to hold far more value. So... how do you get started? 

1. Set a baseline

ESG frameworks allow companies to measure responsible and sustainable corporate growth and business continuity in a structured and standardized way. Choose a global framework, such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, and start populating it with the data you already have.

Think about the risks and opportunities that matter most to your company and your stakeholders, across various metrics:

People – such as diversity and inclusion, pay equality, modern slavery policies, workplace health and safety
• Planet – from greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use to resource circularity and waste
• Prosperity – your contribution to local economies, job creation, and the social value of your products or services
Governance – including a purpose statement, Board and management diversity, remuneration and ethical behavior standards.

Once you understand where you currently are, you can work out priorities for improvement.

2. Embed ESG into structures and processes

Make sure ESG is on your Board’s priorities, and then embed ESG into your everyday decision-making and operations.

Build an ESG team and empower it to regularly measure, aggregate and disclose this data. Then make sure ESG is on the Board’s agenda and allow that team to highlight improvement opportunities and emerging risks.

3. Seek an external view

Working with expert partners can help you stay accountable, build knowledge, help validate your findings and identify opportunities for improvement. 

Working with expert partners can help you stay accountable and also build knowledge within your teams. They can also help you validate your findings, identify opportunities to improve key metrics and tap into the right solution.

4. Amplify your message

Once you have a regular reporting cycle of quarterly updates and annual disclosures, you can share those messages with investors and other stakeholders. Amplify your ESG credentials by seeking media exposure; everyone loves a good ESG story. Make sure your reports are clear – avoid technical ESG jargon, and visualize your data. For companies that report on ESG now, you have a chance to own your narrative around ESG.

5. Maintain the momentum

ESG is a continual journey of positive change. Report frequently, stakeholders want to see quarterly updates on your ESG highlights and progress. Think of ESG reporting as a roadmap – and know that your investors, employees, customers and society will use it to hold you to account. 

How Socialsuite can help

Socialsuite’s ESG platform is ideal for micro to mid caps who are just starting their ESG journey and looking to report against the globally recognized WEF Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics ESG framework.

With this fit-for-purpose approach, smaller listed or private companies no longer need large ESG teams to provide robust and transparent ESG reporting. They can share ongoing progress through quarterly updates, publish investor relations reports, access comprehensive ESG resources and make incremental progress with the support of a dedicated ESG coach.

Over 90 public companies and 70 non-profit organizations use Socialsuite for tracking and reporting on their impact. With the help of our ESG software and expert team, businesses can easily get started on impact reporting, disclose faster, and save money compared to traditional methods. Whether you're new to impact reporting or looking to enhance your current practices, Socialsuite offers the tools and expertise needed to achieve your sustainability goals. Contact us to learn more about our solutions.

Eleanor Carter
Senior Marketing Strategist @ Socialsuite
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