As I write this post sitting in Minneapolis, there is an orange glow and an air quality alert due to the fires that are happening just to the north in Canada. You too are likely someplace where you are noticing climate change issues or disasters happening, as this summer has seemed to be so devastating due to fires, floods and storms. Wildfires are not only burning in parts of the U.S. and Canada, but in Russia, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Australia to name a few. You'll likely keep seeing more environmental issues and situations develop in the future, too, as climate change continues to set the stage for storms, floods, droughts and fires. According to a recent Deloitte survey, over 30% of executives say their organizations are starting to feel the operational impact of climate-related disasters, and more than a quarter are facing a scarcity of resources. Most executives are concerned about climate change but feel there is a gap that exists between sentiments and action.  

While the environment and sustainability are the driving issues for some, this Allianz Life study also found that other social and ethical issues are critical topics that people want corporations to address and support. Consider that:

  • 73% of Americans consider social issues when making a decision to invest in a company
  • 71% said they would stop investing in a company if it behaved in ways they consider unethical
  • 84% believe companies that focus on being a good corporate citizen have better long-term prospects than those that don’t

Today, companies are grappling with a huge demand from employees, stakeholders, shareholders and consumers to reflect environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria across most, if not all, of their business decisions. Businesses are also viewing ESG as an opportunity to innovate and differentiate themselves. That said, how are your global mobility programs ensuring that the business is sustainable, is having less of an impact on the environment, is adhering to standards for corporate responsibility and is operating with integrity? Is there currently any level of accountability for mobility as it relates to ESG goals and initiatives?

These concerns continue to rise on corporate priority lists and have trickled into our talent mobility space. This article (which prompted this post) in Relocate Magazine begins with:

"Employees, investors, customers and clients are increasingly looking at the sustainability and environmental impact of companies they do business with. Incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG ) criteria into the core of your strategy can make your brand more attractive and will futureproof your business."

Of course, creating ESG initiatives could be a corporate strategy to improve your overall brand image, and it will likely help you better appeal to talent, particularly Millennials and Gen Z. So while tackling ESG concerns is definitely the right thing to do businesswise, more importantly (yes, in my opinion)...it's the right thing to do morally!

This sentiment is highlighted by a good friend of mine, Dr. Craig Jonas, who founded an impact investment company called CoPeace. On their website, Craig shares his ikigai:

"To focus on the long-term future of the world and how I can actively be part of solutions to make it a better place for all inhabitants".

Craig went the route of creating an amazing company, putting a great team together to use the power of capital for the greater good. He made me wonder, "What if we could bottle up what motivates Craig and slip that into the veins of your mobility program?" If we did that, maybe we would start asking questions like, "Is there a way for a mobility program to have a mantra of doing no harm while also doing good?"

More and more corporate ESG initiatives are being developed to provide meaningful measurements of proof that demonstrate commitment, follow-through and impact. No doubt, moving the dial on ESG offers the potential for big ROI — for the world and for your company. The pandemic has shed new light on what is possible to do virtually, and on what is not so easily accomplished virtually. The lowest pricing or highest service levels may now be less of a priority in an RFP process, or maybe those are now just requirements to meet certain thresholds while ESG initiatives may make the difference in the bid for new business. It is time to get a lot more creative. Get more educated (go to our Trending Topics page and search "sustainability" and read multiple recent posts), make sure you understand where your company sits, and then dig into policy, process and partners to brainstorm how your mobility program can better support ESG-related priorities.

If you are passionate about the topic, consider this LinkedIn Group: Sustainability and ESG in Global Mobility. Paul Barnes, owner of the group, provides some food for thought to help move you towards action. This definition of sustainability that he shares comes from Gro Harlem Brundtland and the World Commission of Environment and Development:

"Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Share with us where you feel there is opportunity for your mobility program to improve sustainability and create less of an environmental impact. Participate in our latest Mobility Minute Survey on Sustainability and ESG Initiatives in Global Mobility and we'll send you the results!