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Gearing up to realize ESG and sustainability goals

March 29, 2022

How we helped a global manufacturer turn their high-level ESG goals into deliverable commitments on the ground.

Turning high-level ESG goals into deliverable commitments on the ground

This manufacturing company had an ambitious sustainability plan for 2030 and had made significant progress around sustainable products and climate resilience. However, it was clear that more work was needed to make sure their large workforce was engaged, empowered and energized if the business was to achieve its ESG goals.

The challenge

Understanding where you are and where you want to be

In some ways, the physical and financial aspects of delivering ESG goals can be relatively simple. But making any kind of lasting progress is impossible without ensuring that your people are fully on board with your purpose and strategy.

We were approached to help the business create a plan to achieve this. The company had made some progress around creating circularity within their operations and in building climate change resilience. However, they were keen to create a clear strategy that would enable their workforce to adapt and rise to the challenge of their ambitious 2030 plan.

The business chose these four ‘people commitments’ to focus on:

  • Capability and employability – strategic workforce planning to prepare and upskill employees for a changing workplace.
  • Diversity and inclusion – supporting structural and behavioral change to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
  • Purposeful employment – connecting people to the company’s purpose and bringing them along on the journey.
  • Work life experience and mental health wellbeing – creating a safe, open, supportive environment in which employees can thrive.

We worked with senior leadership to create a defined, tangible roadmap that would move the business to where it needed to be to meet the 2030 plan in full.

The solution

Breaking big ESG goals down, building KPIs up

We worked closely with the business to clarify roles and goals, making sure that everyone –especially the board and senior leaders – were behind the initiative.

Our first step was to evaluate how the business was currently doing in each of the four identified areas. And we needed to establish the ambition of where they wanted to be in 2030 and beyond.

Leveraging the Korn Ferry DE&I maturity framework (with some additional modifications), we were able to identify the gaps between the current state of play and where the business needed to be.

This enabled us to set clear actions and helped the organization to prioritize what they needed to do to achieve their ESG goals.

Being a very data-driven organization, it was important that they could track and measure progress and its impact in moving the needle. We set out clearly-defined leading key performance indicators (KPIs) linked to the 2030 commitments. We also set out a governance process to review the effectiveness of those KPIs in reaching the ambition.

Now the business was able to move from conceptual ambitions to a framework of measurable and achievable objectives. We were able to give the client a view of the KPI landscape and targets – a transparent way to measure and evaluate progress.

A strategic plan is only successful if it is implemented well. We worked closely with the business to create detailed project charters, providing recommendations on who should own the actions as well as best practice implementation models.

This was incredibly important as it helped establish what should be done at the group and local business levels. It meant that the organization would be able to cascade the work and drive accountability as they got ready to operationalize the plan.

The results

Setting ambitious ESG goals, a roadmap on how to get there and metrics to track measure progress along the way

Our collaborative partnership set a framework to connect DE&I, wellbeing and purpose with its ESG commitments.

Together we:

  • Evaluated gaps and opportunities using our maturity framework.
  • Developed a clear roadmap, prioritizing actions and an implementation plan.
  • Established a framework for a more diverse and inclusive workplace where people experience purposeful employment and support for their wellbeing.
  • Set KPIs to measure and track progress, with relevance at both global and regional levels.
  • Recommended change management and governance to drive change and ensure accountability.

As a result, the company had confidence that it was concentrating on the right actions and that everyone – from the shop floor to board table – we're all working towards the same North Star.

Let us be part of your success story. We’ll work with you, not only to shape your ESG and sustainability strategy but to develop an action plan that activates your people to deliver on your ESG goals.

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