“Energy” and Its Materiality in Your Enterprise Shared Perspectives From an Industry Expert

In the pages of our newsletters over time there are many mentions of “materiality,” and how this applies (especially) in corporate sustainability, ESG, CSR and so on.  “What” is material – and “how” do we report on that?  American companies are devoting considerable time, attention and resources to exploring and answering the questions about materiality. The G&A Institute team is focused on the many aspects of the materiality discussion. And just today, our EVP Louis Coppola is leading a class on “materiality” at Rutgers University in our CSR Certificate Program offering in collaboration with the Rutgers Business School Institute for Ethical Leadership.

Today, we offer a slightly different take for you on materiality — not just in the financial sense, but how your company’s sustainability or energy strategy impacts operational and therefore financial performance.  The perspectives shared are by John DuPont, P.E., LEED AP, Principal, Distributed Energy Resources, with “energy intelligence” software provider EnerNOC.

He presents his views in “The Role of Sustainability Materiality in Driving Business Value,” and asks (and answers) the question, “Is energy material to your business?”  Depends, John DuPont explains, on the organization’s various impacts on the world for environmental factors like GhG emissions and energy management, as it is with other issues for other types of organizations (such as data security, privacy, labor relations, other issues).

Of real importance:  In mapping sectors / industries for materiality for reporting by U.S. companies the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) “energy” was prominent in seven of eight industry categories, he writes. These included healthcare, technology, services, manufacturing, and consumption (such as food processing).  Companies in these sectors should be thinking “holistically” about energy management.

John DuPont sets out three steps to guide your company’s process moving forward:  (1) establish effective internal reporting; (2) conduct a materiality analysis; (3) make sure your energy strategy includes all stakeholders. These are explained in the commentary.   Among his suggestions:  If energy is one of your material business drivers, it’s important to develop your energy strategy with C-suite and cross-functional accountability to enable high-quality decision-making. (Too often, he says, responsibility for energy is delegated too far down – making it seem “less material” in the process.)

Author John DuPont’s employer, EnerNOC, serves clients in manufacturing, commercial real estate, healthcare, and other sectors.  The author’s commentary was published on the Clean Technica web platform, read the whole story by clicking the title link below:

The Role of Sustainability “Materiality” in Driving Business Value
(Wednesday – September 21, 2016)
Source: CleanTechnica – Materiality” used to be a word relegated to CFOs, accountants, and investors talking about financial disclosures and risks. But recently it’s become an important topic in sustainability and energy management circles. One only…

Global Supply Chains and the Necessity Of Making Operations Safer, More Sustainable

Savvy corporate managements recognize that the supply chain of their company represents a huge opportunity for cost savings, more efficient management of procurement, and the extension of important health & safety practices beyond their own operations. And, that addressing the inherent risk within their global supply network of partnering organizations (suppliers large and small) is a critical risk management consideration, taking the supply chain to the company board room (that is, the directors’ responsibility to oversee enterprise risk management approaches).

Compared to just 30 years ago or so, and the end of the Cold War, the network of suppliers (and their many locations) represents an astonishing change in corporate strategy, operations and management oversight for the average large-cap and mid-cap company.  There are important drivers for these changes.First is the trend toward globalization of numerous elements of operations for virtually all businesses.  Even a small retailer today can attract and service customers that are 7,000 miles distant, and the “store” can be totally on line.  The second critical driver is the technology that makes this possible, with the foundation being the reach of the internet, and use of the World Wide Web.  And the third major force for change over the past several decades is the global consumer thirst for ever-lower priced goods and greater competition within the retail space. 

In that regard, we are truly entered into the Age of the Internet of Things.  And so the focus of corporate management on the supply chain is of critical importance to business enterprises — from large-cap public companies all the way down the value chain to their smallest (independent) suppliers of goods and services.

Companies in developed nations — USA, Canada, Europe, and United Kingdom — have a plethora of compliance regulations to follow.  Moving to less developed economies for their outsourcing, early on the suppliers in far off lands could have less safe and even unsafe operations.  It was “out of sight.”  No more!  Stakeholders are looking more closely these days at the source of goods and considering the working conditions at those sourcing points.  And so the growing emphasis on “supplier performance management models,” as described by Pierre-Francois Thaler, co-CEO of the EcoVadis organization, who shares importance perspectives in our Top Story this week.

EcoVadis provides “sustainability scorecard ratings” for major customers to evaluate their supply chain partners. (There are 21 CSR performance indicators, 150 commodities, 110 countries in the EcoVadis scoring system.)  At G&A Institute, we assist our corporate clients in responding to the EcoVadis surveys – these are very comprehensive.  There is important information for managers of all sizes of business organizations in the interview published by Supply Chain Digital.

Corporate sustainability leadership companies understand the importance of “effective supply chain management” to their top and bottom lines, the company brands and reputation, and the risk factors presented by global sourcing.  An example is Johnson & Johnson, the giant healthcare products company (for “health, wellness and fitness”).  Addressing supply chain management, the J&J web site notes:  “Taking responsibility for the environmental and social impacts of our products begins with product design and development, and then extends to the sourcing, manufacturing and delivery of our products to our customers. For many years, we have been implementing and improving environmental and social measures in our own organization. As a natural progression, we are focusing on promoting sustainability throughout the supply chain.”

“By doing so, we can improve our own performance, as well as influence the performance of our supply chain partners. We look to partner with suppliers who are transparent about their sustainability programs, can assure us that they are sustainably producing the goods and/or services we are buying, and can verify the legal and regulatory compliance of their supply chain. With annual spending of approximately $30 billion, we are able to leverage our purchasing power to set sustainability expectations beyond our own operations.”

Theresa Ragozine, VP of Procurement Citizenship at J&J, will lead a CSR Executive Panel discussion for the two-day CSR Certificate Program presented by The Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School and Governance & Accountability Institute at the Newark, NJ campus of the Rutgers University School of Business on Wednesday, September 28th (2016) at 1PM.

The course agenda includes a session focused on exploring J&J’s own world class sustainable supply chain best practices.   Joining Theresa Ragozine will be Cindy Bush, Director-Environmental Health & Safety at Tessy Plastics (J&J supplier), and Toby Simpson, Program Manager-EcoVadis (J&J partner). Professionals in companies with a global supply chain benefit from the knowledge shared in this session.  So, too, will men and women pursuing the dream of playing a role in the “sustainability journey” of companies that seek to gain a more effective supply performance management strategy and action plan.  There is more information about the Rutgers/G&A Institute CSR Certificate Program at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/csr-certificate-program-sept-28-29-tickets-26809141865

Read the story below:

The necessity of sustainable supply chains 
(Tuesday – September 13, 2016)
Source: Supply Chain Digital – Financial support for sustainability can only go so far. To make a real difference in supply chain sustainability, global companies need to leverage their influence and resources to drive true change.

How Does One Pursue a Career in Sustainability?

This is the question on the minds of many young professionals, as well as a growing number of seasoned professionals looking to change course and work on issues that match their passions and worldview. In our feature article this week, Mike Hower, Senior Writer at GreenBiz group shares some very important takeaways for those that find themselves in this position.

How to make it in corporate sustainability
(Friday – September 09, 2016)
Source: GreenBiz – Making it in corporate sustainability isn’t easy. As a fledgling profession, there are few full-time roles and even fewer entry-level opportunities. While the number of companies with full-time sustainability managers has grown…

Mike points out in his article that the number of companies with full-time sustainability managers has increased by 400% since the late 1980’s according to CSE Research.  He also makes the point that there is a wide variety of positions in the field of “sustainability” – including some that many do not think of when considering a career move.

For example, there is the consulting field; a wide range of non-profit organizations;  a growing number of positions opening in government agencies at all levels; service providers are ramping new offerings with labels like “sustainability,” “CSR,” “Citizenship” and more.  There are also specialized career areas that do not require a college education, such as installers for cleantech (solar panels, windmills, geothermal, etc.).

At G&A we are monitoring sustainability, CSR and citizenship job positions around the world, and have seen a dramatic increase in these opportunities, especially over the last 3 years.  Our clients and others in G&A’s network often come to us asking whether we can help them to find someone to fit a specific position / particular skillsets.  Increasingly these positions are becoming more complex, specialized, and strategically important to the organizations.

To help fill this need, G&A Institute and Rutgers Business School, Institute for Ethical Leadership have partnered together to offer a 2 Day CSR Certificate program in Newark, NJ on Sept 28th and 29th.  You can find out more information and register for the course, click here.

Watch, too, for our coming announcement about an exciting new resource from G&A Institute and partner organizations for remote e-learning courses in the CSR, Sustainability, Citizenship and related fields.

In his narrative, Mike Hower does an excellent job at telling his own personal experience and in sharing lessons learned from others in his network, and in the field.  He summarizes with five key lessons that are detailed in the article:

  • Lesson 1: Develop a niche but also generalize.
  • Lesson 2: Never stop learning.
  • Lesson 3: Cultivate a global perspective.
  • Lesson 4: Embrace mentors and professional networks.
  • Lesson 5: Failure is the key to success.

We invite your reading of the entire feature article below, and let us know your comments and thoughts.

If you find yourself sustainability job hunting, or career path searching, please also consider joining us for our 2-Day CSR Certificate at Rutgers University Business School in Newark, NJ on Sept 28th and 29th.  An outstanding panel of experts in the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, and in the Social Sector (such as foundation managers) will be presenting critical information for participants.  Click here for more information. 


Register Now & Save 10% for the “Building a Best-in-Class CSR Department” CSR Certificate Program September 28-29, 2016 Two-Tracks: Corporate & Nonprofit/Philanthropy

LaborDay10_CSRProgram_forG&AFeaturedEventLabor Day Sale — Save 10% on Registration!
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Governance & Accountability Institute and The Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School Newark are joining forces for the Fall two-day CSR Certificate program.

Theme as “Building a Best-in-Class CSR Department,” participants will have a choice of two tracks — one for corporate responsibility topics and the other for not-for-profit / social sector organization topics, with plenary sessions to share knowledge and experience with all participants.

Topics include:

  • The Ethics of Corporate Responsibility
  • Industry Specific Metrics and Measurements
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • CSR Trends – Locally, Nationally and Internationally
  • CSR Through the Investor Lens
  • Materiality – Identify & Focus on Strategic ESG Issues

The two-day, “deep dive” into CSR and related fields of philanthropy including corporate foundation work, corporate sustainability, risk management, and ethics. Rutgers IEL notes: “Executives in both for-profit and not-for-profit fields and their teams need to develop the skill sets, networks, and ever-increasing expertise to achieve their CSR goals, and deliver value to their organization. This certificate program will be presented over two-days with an outstanding faculty of speakers who are experts in their fields.”

Confirmed faculty and guest presenters include:

  • Erika Karp, CEO of Cornerstone Capital Group (formerly head of research for UBS)
  • Mary O’Malley, Vice President of Corporate Governance, Prudential Financial, Inc
  • Ellen Lambert, President of PSEG Foundation and Chief Diversity Officer
  • Wanda Lopuch, Chair of the Board at The Global Sourcing Council(GSC)
  • Georg Kell, Founding Director of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), and now Vice Chairman, Arabesque Partners

The program will take place at the Rutgers Business School campus in downtown Newark, New Jersey on September 28 and 29, 2016.

Labor Day Sale — Save 10% on Registration!
Click here to register & save now!

For more information contact Louis D. Coppola, EVP of G&A Institute, at lcoppola@ga-institute.com