Kelly Myers, Senior Director of Responsible Business and National Programs areal north america
For businesses today, the concept of social and environmental responsibility has evolved beyond mere moral obligation. It has become an essential part of any organization’s strategic planning. As executives begin developing their social and environmental responsibility (SER) plans for the new year, here are some key factors to consider.
Align SER with corporate strategy
Social and environmental responsibility should not be viewed as an isolated function within an organization. Instead, overall ownership must be shared and seamlessly integrated into the overall corporate strategy. When SER aligns with a company’s core values and long-term goals, it becomes more than just a buzzword, it becomes a driver of innovation and a catalyst for growth. Work with executives to define how SER aligns with the company’s vision, mission, and strategic goals. It is important to understand not only what the standards are, but also how progress will be tracked and reported to key stakeholders.
Transparency is paramount when it comes to SER planning. Your stakeholders, from customers to investors, expect and value a clear and honest explanation of your environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. Be prepared to disclose your sustainability goals, progress, and challenges you face. An open and authentic approach to SER builds trust and confidence. Both are essential for long-term success. Understand your reach, how you will be perceived in the marketplace, and how to establish, maintain, and grow trust with all stakeholders, from employees to customers and customers to the general public.
Leverage technology for data collection and analysis
The data environment is vast and complex, and managing it effectively is the cornerstone of SER planning. Make sure you have the right data collection and analysis tools to measure and monitor ESG performance. These insights can guide your decision-making process and help you set realistic goals. It is important to use the right resources. Consider a full audit or third-party evaluation early on. This identifies areas for priority improvement. Then ask yourself, “Where is there a lot of room for growth?” “What kind of lift will this be?” If this is something that hasn’t been built into the overall success structure or programming before, it can be a difficult task for the existing team, and the overall Understand that you may need to outsource or invest in allocating more resources towards your plan. SER platform.
Involve the entire organization
When it comes to SER planning, your team members are your most valuable asset. Increase their engagement by fostering a culture of responsibility and sustainability. Their insights and efforts will help you implement and achieve your SER goals. Encourage team members to participate in sustainability efforts and recognize and reward their efforts. To establish ownership within your organization, involve as many people as possible. Identify where to divide and conquer and involve everyone from the beginning to ensure it’s not just a goal for her SER department, but a priority built into the very foundation of the organization.
Collaboration with external partners
Collaboration is the key to SER success. Collaborate with organizations inside and outside your industry to exchange knowledge and best practices. You’re not expected to know everything from the beginning, so external partnerships provide access to resources, networks, and expertise that can help shape and accelerate your sustainability efforts. Be open to learning from others and sharing your experiences to collectively drive positive change. For example, when it comes to complex challenges like improving animal welfare in the food system, we are seeing moments in the food industry where whole communities “come together” to solve problems. There is a lot of collaboration going on right now to set the bar for sustainability, and we all have a responsibility to drive it.
Incorporating sustainable and ethical practices often requires an initial investment. SER teams must strategically allocate resources to support SER initiatives, understanding that the long-term benefits can outweigh the initial costs. Once you have identified all the criteria, you may need to update your tracking system, which can take a lot of research, people, money, and time. Understand that the longer you wait, the further you will fall back in that space.
Stay informed and adapt
SER planning is not a one-size-fits-all process and is constantly changing. Continuously evolving in response to global challenges, regulatory changes and changing consumer preferences. It’s important to always understand and consider where your ingredients come from, how they’re raised or produced, and what impact it has on the environment. Therefore, those at the forefront need to stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the field of sustainability. Be adaptable, be willing to adjust your strategy as needed, stay true to your goals, and stay ahead of the curve.
Measure effectiveness, not just effort.
While setting goals and initiatives is essential, it’s equally important to measure and explain the actual impact of your SER efforts. Leaders need to focus on meaningful metrics that quantify the social, environmental, and economic outcomes of their efforts. Understand that it’s not just about doing more. It’s about doing better. Continuity and ownership are very important. If an initiative is important today, it must be important every day in the future.
Championing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) is an integral part of SER. A diverse and inclusive workforce fosters innovation, addresses social inequalities, and aligns with ethical values. Executives need to champion her DEIB not only within their organizations, but across their supply chains and business ecosystems. Learn how a SER plan impacts every area of your organization and how driving a culture of belonging helps you retain top talent who continue to improve your company across the board and in every way. Understand what helps.
In conclusion, SER planning is a journey that requires commitment, collaboration, and a willingness to adapt. By aligning SER with corporate strategy, focusing on transparency, engaging the entire organization, collaborating with external partners, planning investments, staying informed and adapting, measuring impact, and championing DEIB. , managers can lead their organizations to a more sustainable and responsible future. . At Elior North America, we have seen firsthand the positive results of consolidation. Incorporating SER into our core business practicesAnd we are committed to sharing our experience and knowledge to inspire others on their journey towards a more responsible and sustainable future. Be prepared to evolve, even if you’re just starting out. Things change every day, sometimes within a day. So embrace that change and keep moving forward no matter what.
Kelly Myers is Senior Director of Responsible Business and Nation Programs. Arial North America.