In our sustainability transformation work across the world, we see a common challenge. Many organizations commit to ambitious goals, but lack the science, engagement and business cases needed to achieve them. This work is not easy. In fact, we are still working through it ourselves. So, in our commitment to transparency and accountability, here is a glimpse into our own ongoing journey as we build our corporate sustainability strategy.
As part of our continuous efforts to understand our stakeholders, ENGIE Impact engaged employees, our board, clients and even competitors to develop our materiality assessment, which helps us gauge what is most important to them. We conducted an extensive series of surveys, interviews and focus groups with internal and external stakeholders to build a clear understanding of their expectations and our priorities. As a result of this work, we identified our material priorities: 21 environmental, social, governance and economic topics. We acknowledge that there are many issues that deserve focus, and we are committed to being transparent in our journey to address those topics. The following three emerged as highest priority:
Reduce and promote the reduction of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere and build resilience to the consequences of climate change by reducing our own energy and water use and waste.
Offer customers global solutions across the value chain to design, engineer, and deliver outcomes that at a minimum enable carbon neutrality.
Manage and analyze data to design sustainability strategy and programs, track progress to goals, and ensure compliance for ourselves and our clients.
Strong strategies begin with a solid understanding of where you are today, but it can be challenging for organizations to collect and analyze their baseline data. Our own challenges included complications of leased spaces, like leased vs. owned office spaces, submetering, colocation with other businesses, or utility charges that are paid by another entity. It was not easy to extrapolate the utility data for all of our locations, but cross-functional collaboration was critical to obtaining the right data.
To measure our own carbon footprint, we followed the most widely used international GHG emissions accounting standard, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. We looked at our Scope 1 and 2 emissions, including heating, cooling, refrigeration, energy purchasing, and fleet. We also looked at indirect Scope 3 emissions, like how we generate waste, commute to work, travel for meetings, and even how we use digital tools and where we invest. In our commitment to transparent and accurate disclosure, our calculated figures were verified by a third party. We have also included here conservative estimates for non-verified sources such as our digital footprint and business travel sources like hotel stays, car services and meals.
As a services company, we have a small carbon footprint. The majority of our carbon footprint resides within Scope 3 emissions, a notoriously difficult category to measure and manage since these areas are not entirely under our control. To tackle our indirect emissions, we know we must innovate and invest in engaging suppliers and partners and evolve our own ways of working.
With this context, we’ve initiated several workstreams with cross-functional teams intended to tackle near-term emissions reduction levers as well as more transformational measures that evaluate our operating models and partners moving forward.
A successful sustainability strategy is rooted in enthusiastic support across the entire organization. It also requires a strong understanding by company leaders of what’s required to bridge the gap between your goals and where you are today and what the sustainability strategy means for your organization.
Fueled by robust data and analytics, a diverse team of experts from across ENGIE Impact came together to model several future scenarios to target our most material issues. Over several months, our executive team pored over these analyses in a series of workshops, debating the merits of potential plans of action. They agreed on the “why” and the “how” so that we would be ready to take action together as a company. This required curiosity, learning and dialogue.
Giving executives the tools to understand how bold and how fast we could be and how it would affect our businesses (both positively and negatively) was essential to setting the right level of achievable ambition. Our leadership team is enthusiastic about tackling not only our most material challenges, but also those that will drive change in the market, serving our clients whose footprints are far larger.
We believe in developing bankable roadmaps with a clear, positive business case. That business case will look different to each industry. As a services industry, our sustainability investments drive the greatest value in how we manage our reputation, serve our clients, and attract and retain top talent.
As we built our roadmap, we categorized our investments according to must-haves, established demands, emerging demands and innovation opportunities. We then sequenced the investments over three years, launching the must-haves and emerging demands immediately and directing more dollars to emerging demands and innovation in years 2 and 3. Finally, we wanted to be able to tie our sustainability work to direct savings so that less tangible values would be on top of the break-even point. We created a detailed budget, which includes cost savings measures such as reductions in travel and real estate that both lower our carbon footprint while unlocking funding to cover program costs.
With this robust analysis in place, we have built the foundation of a business case that simultaneously delivers a positive economic and environmental impact.
Learn more about the goals we set for carbon, water and waste reductions and the steps to get there and track how we are progressing.
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