Today’s investors have expectations when it comes to the companies they choose to invest in, and ESG commitment is at the top of their list. Companies must have a comprehensive strategy in place to oversee and manage ESG risks and opportunities and drive business performance and growth.
Building or optimizing an ESG strategy must carefully account for the company’s specific goals, sector, market and investor base – and potentially regulatory and legal requirements. Additionally, ESG matters and the organizations and standards that guide them are continuously evolving. Whether a company is seeking to improve upon an existing strategy or starting from scratch, there are many considerations to help position for success:
- What metrics and targets to set and follow?
- What disclosures to make?
- How to prepare board members?
- How to implement this strategy?
Georgeson helps you develop the right strategy, with a focus on strengthening shareholder engagement, improving your company’s ESG profile, and most importantly, driving long-term value creation.
Here are seven considerations to create or improve on a successful ESG strategy
1. Understand your investors
First and foremost, your ESG strategy should be informed by your investors’ priorities and that starts with understanding their ESG views and policies. Zero in on the profiles of your company’s specific institutional investors, providing key information that will enable productive and positive engagements. With access to thousands of global investor and engagement data points, Georgeson can determine the ESG initiatives and frameworks that are most favored amongst your investors, including Climate Action 100, Net Zero Asset Manager, TCFD, SASB and more. We can also identify the ratings and data providers they rely upon most, so you can save time and know where to focus your efforts.
2. Know your market, industry and peers
Investors make decisions based on peer group comparison, so identifying gaps between investors’ expectations and industry peer practices can guide your ESG plan. To inform what you should be doing, Georgeson can create an ESG-appropriate peer group and conduct an analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses and issues that may be just around the corner – as well as highlight new opportunities.
3. Determine what and how to disclose
Understanding your top investors’ data usage practices, approach to ESG integration and what they expect in terms of issuer sustainability practices and disclosures is critical in order to focus your time and resources effectively. Georgeson will help you identify the investor-favored standards and frameworks most relevant to your company, focus on the information most significant to your investors and other key stakeholders, and develop impactful, user-friendly ESG disclosures.
4. Develop and follow specific metrics and targets
Investors expect companies to set ESG targets aligned to financial performance. From taking the first steps to develop an ESG oversight framework to setting science-based targets, Georgeson will provide the guidance your company needs to meet investor expectations.
5. Educate and prepare your board
Boards are now expected to oversee a company’s ESG risks and opportunities, as well as the overall strategy to measure, integrate and manage these matters. With ESG issues taking a firm hold across companies of all sizes, all industries and in all markets, your board must be engaged and informed about the topics that matter to your company, investors, and industry. Georgeson offers comprehensive training that includes breaking down the ESG landscape for your specific company, examining the leading ESG reporting frameworks and standards, including TCFD and SASB, as well as any relevant sector specific efforts, and understanding your investors’ preferences and processes.
6. Implement strategy and track performance to improve
Once you’ve determined the appropriate steps for your company’s ESG strategy, Georgeson will work with you to establish the appropriate infrastructure and processes to collect data, implement your strategic goals, and track your performance. We will develop a custom reporting strategy, keeping your company’s most significant investors top of mind, and help ensure you effectively communicate your successes to your internal and external stakeholders.
7. Demonstrate transparency and accountability to your investors
With many investors incorporating ESG disclosure expectations into proxy voting decisions, it is critical to engage your investors year round. Doing so will give you a clearer understanding of their ESG expectations and proxy voting policies, as well as provide an opportunity to build credibility with them. Georgeson will thoroughly research your investors, help develop communications designed to effectively engage with them, and prepare you for potential ESG questions. Gaining this insight and developing strategies informed by investor priorities can considerably improve your ESG profile and, most importantly, drive long-term value creation.
The more you know about your investors, the more likely you are to set a strong, successful ESG strategy
A strong ESG strategy drives corporate purpose and profit. Getting there requires ESG expertise to identify the right focus areas, and set measurable ESG goals aligned to financial performance. Let Georgeson guide you on a path to ESG success.
No matter what stage in your journey, Georgeson will help you conquer your ESG challenges.
Our advisory services help you understand your own, unique ESG landscape, advance your practices and communicate with investors effectively.