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"S" in ESG Stands for "Superpower"

Posted by Elizabeth Grove on 05/04/2021
  • Social Sustainability is the ultimate multiplier - doubling or tripling impact
  • An effective social sustainability plan benefits more than the community
  • Multiple beneficiaries build strong bonds 

While the term “sustainability” usually brings environmental actions to mind, the scope of “ESG” is broader -- and for good reason. The sustainability of any organization depends upon effective stakeholder engagement – and that means taking care of ALL stakeholders: employees, customers, suppliers, governments and the communities where we live and work.

Each of these stakeholders is a key contributor to the sustainability of your organization. That’s why an effective social sustainability plan that includes community investment and engagement can be your organization’s greatest sustainability superpower.   

Community investment is the ultimate effort multiplier – most actions involve multiple parties and, in turn, impact multiple beneficiaries. Take employee volunteering, for example:

  • Employees feel great about making their communities better. They may even build leadership skills that can translate to enhanced job skills; 
  • Charitable organizations get much-needed help and develop ongoing partnerships with your organization;
  • Communities benefit from engaged citizens, active community-centric groups and stronger charitable organizations; 
  • Happier, more engaged employees will create a culture of giving back on behalf of your organization, a key component in employee attraction and retention;  
  • And by making your mark in the community in such a positive way, your organization will reap reputational benefits as well.

At Lubrizol, our team of 8,800 employees live in over 100 communities all over the world. Our community investment strategy – Global Goals/Local Actions – has set a global goal to give 80,000 employee volunteer hours by Lubrizol’s centennial in 2028. We share common priorities to promote good health and wellbeing, quality education and environmental stewardship in our communities, but it’s the local teams who decide what kind of activity will provide the most benefit in the places they call home.

To really supercharge your “S,” consider getting creative when donating as an organization. While establishing a charitable foundation or making donations of money are two traditional approaches, other creative routes might include:

  • matching employee donations or even paying employees for their time spent volunteering;
  • donating services, materials and skills-based volunteering;
  • teaming up with customers or suppliers for community engagement can bring new depth to important relationships. 

The benefits of community investment are felt by several important stakeholder groups. Employees feel supported in their efforts, the charities themselves grow and the communities and people served by the charities develop lasting relationships.

So remember that the “S” in ESG doesn’t only stand for “social” – it also means “superpower.”  Use it wisely!

Elizabeth Grove

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