Corporate sustainability has become an essential business process for all organizations as consumers continue to develop a new awareness of societies ability to track and manage sustainable efforts. A study by Aflac said that 77% of consumers are more willing to purchase from an organization with a sustainability initiative. This awareness drives consumers to direct their spending and attention towards organizations that positively demonstrate their sustainability efforts, with organizations who do not demonstrably follow sustainability processes being left lagging.
This consumer pressure and the raising awareness of creating a sustainable future has encouraged many organizations to develop corporate sustainability programs that address prominent issues and challenges such as greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water use and labor conditions. While having these sustainability programs is a step in the right direction, most organizations keep their sustainability and EHS programs separate from each other and their core business operations, creating a gap that leads to missed opportunities.
Integrating their EHS and sustainability programs into a unified program with their core business operations lays a foundation for compliance and consistent development by building procedures and processes that are constant across all facilities, locations and the entire organization.
So where does the overlap with corporate sustainability and EHS come from? The biggest overlap between EHS and sustainability is the Environmental aspect. EHS teams are already typically responsible for managing issues that surround the environment and worker health and safety. An organizations EHS team is constantly asking questions like “are our waste management programs working effectively” and are we properly disposing of hazardous waste?” or “how can the business reduce water waste”. This ties in directly with an organization’s compliance, with EHS teams monitoring these environmental impacts to ensure the organization is complaint with all applicable regulations. But most importantly, the data collected by EHS teams as it relates to the environment is key to the stakeholders of an organization to effectively measure their sustainability efforts.
It’s now time for organizations to sideline the belief that sustainability is isolated from EHS and fully integrate these into one unified program and recognize the benefits that come along with that.
1. Effectively Manage Risk
Local and global regulations are constantly evolving and changing, which can be difficult for organizations to stay on top of. With EHS and sustainability programs integrated as one, organizations will be able to better identify and resolve healthy, safety and sustainability issues which ultimately improves regulatory compliance. Using the data collected for your EHS and sustainability efforts will allow you to analyze trends and adjust your performance and environmental habits to help prepare for any changing regulations. This also helps prevent disruptions to the supply chain and to minimize the negative reputational fallout that can be caused by problems with sustainability. Additionally, these integrated programs can help organizations to raise employee morale and improve their employee relations. In an article by the Harvard Business Review, organizations with strong sustainability programs found that morale was 55% better than those with poor or no sustainability programs.
2. Reduce Costs
Through an integrated EHS and sustainability program, organizations can decrease waste, reduce energy use and reduce their use of raw materials, which brings significant savings. According to ClimateWorks’ Energy Productivity Index, industrial companies are spending over 15% of their operating expenditure on energy. Reducing their energy use can help to improve profits by 2-10% each year.
3. Increase Revenue
With consumers keeping a watchful eye on an organization’s sustainability, an integrated EHS and sustainability program will help organizations to enhance its reputation within society. A good reputation can often expose new revenue streams for an organization.
What can an organization do to get started?
Easily incorporate sustainability into your organizations EHS programs with Sodales. The Sodales platform provides a single portal for managing health, safety and employee relations business processes for environmental incident and accident reporting, corrective actions, ethics, human rights complaints and more. Organizations can prevent risks and improve compliance by proactively identifying non-conformities within their sites and business processes. These capabilities allow organizations to meet “zero incident” goals by changing from reactive “incident management” to proactive “incident prevention” culture.
Sodales enables organizations to manage human rights and inequality programs with the ability to submit and manage complaints such as harassment complaints. Organizations can manage the entire complaints process from beginning to end and increases collaboration of departments and individuals involved in the complaints process.
Sodales also provides the ability to manage the health and safety aspects of an organization’s sustainability goals through spill and discharge incident tracking, sampling and ground water monitoring, exposure forms, waste data and environmental inspections. Organizations will be able to improve their sustainability efforts by collaboratively managing corrective actions for al incidents and inspections through the Sodales Platform.
Lastly, Sodales provides a holistic view of an organization’s compliance, risk and overall performance of sustainability through reporting capabilities at all organizational levels. The reporting capabilities combine internal and external industry drivers to create a collaborative environment where an organizations joint committees and councils can drive sustainability efforts for the future. Organizations also have the ability to set up benchmarks against their local or global requirements.
Contact us today to book a demo to see how Sodales is helping organizations transform their EHS and sustainability efforts.