I am coming here from the perspective of a consultant working with mid-sized energy companies. There are three key things to consider when addressing sustainability challenges:
1. Key stakeholders, especially investors, are interested. Many large, institutional investors are becoming more active in encouraging – or even requiring – companies to continually improve their ESG performance.
2. Addressing Sustainability Challenges does not have to be an overwhelming effort. Focus on material issues. Work on the things that matter most and integrate performance in these areas into your business culture. Then build from there addressing other issues, again using materiality to screen out the things that don’t contribute to risk or won’t contribute to success. This is a marathon, not a sprint. The organization has to assimilate a new way of thinking. The efforts have to be credible to workers at all levels.
3. Leadership commitment is essential. If a firm considers this a tick the box exercize they will be sorely disappointed in the outcome. If there is not a compelling vision that is constantly reinforced in word and deed, sustainability efforts will run out of gas.