More information is showing up on the farm about sustainability.
Sustainability is being defined in the business world, and in the publicly traded world, as being environmentally, socially and governance (ESG) responsible.
ESG is driving a complete reframe of how we define value and is a new way of thinking. Success is no longer simply about financials, disclosures, climate change or diversity. It’s about aligning and embedding all these principles, and more, into your strategy, and operations to know you’re proactive and prepared for the future.
In the recent Canadian Securities Administrators Notice , sustainability was equated to other words used in business:
- Responsible Investing (RI)
- Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)
- Ethical Investing
- Green Investing
When examining your business strategies, look for a set of actions that are grouped under environment, social, and governance strategies.
When developing an ESG strategy, there are several checklists to review. Below is a summary for your business to check against for your master ESG strategy. The assumption in all checklists is that your business establishes a baseline and then makes improvements.
- Water Pollution
- Carbon Emissions
- Energy Use
- Waste Management
- Water Scarcity
- Community Relations
- Data Protection and Privacy
- Employee Engagement
- Human Rights
- Indigenous Inclusion and Reconciliation
- Labour Standards
- Audit Committee
- Board Diversity
- Corruption and Conflicts of Interest
- Political Contribution
Application: How do I apply these to my business?
How are the existence of these strategies in a business plan being examined and applied?
You may see:
- Negative Screening – Inclusion or exclusion based on the quality of business strategies.
- Material Risk – Explicit inclusion of strategies (or lack of) in addition to financial factors.
- Best In Class – Performance metrics examined and applied to a group of peers.
- Theme Application – Expected benefits derived from strategies.
- Impact Application – Outcomes included in financial returns.
- Active Ownership – Investments may include voting share behavior.
- Shareholder Engagement – Full interaction with management.
How Do I Get Started?
There is an old saying ‘If it is not written down, it does not exist’. If your farm plan is in your head, write it down. Start collecting information on your farm for all the checklists.
Add this discussion to the next ledger, investor, or owner meeting agenda.