How to Create an ESG Policy (Step-by-Step)

  • By: Tara Astbury
  • November 29, 2023

Citizens expect their government to act fairly, responsibly, and sustainably.  One way governments can ensure everyone in the administration — from the city manager down — operates in this manner is by creating an environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) policy. 

An ESG policy outlines how your organization plans to address environmental, social, and corporate governance challenges and meet ESG goals. Read on to learn how to create an ESG policy.

What is ESG?

ESG is a framework for assessing how companies and organizations manage their operations and impact across three key areas:

Environmental: Sustainability practices, including climate impact, resource conservation, and waste management

Social: How an organization engages with its employees, communities, and broader society, encompassing aspects like diversity, labor practices, and human rights

Governance: Structure and integrity of an organization’s leadership, addressing areas such as board composition, executive compensation, transparency, and ethical standards

How to Create an ESG Policy

Follow these steps to create an ESG policy. 

1. Identify ESG Material Issues

No two administrations are alike; each has to identify its ESG material issues. These are the areas that have a significant impact on your ESG ratings — for example, renewable energy sources or waste management. As a city administrator, you want to consult with stakeholders and experts to ensure you’re considering all crucial ESG factors.

Below are a few general circumstances that may inform various ESG issues in your city or organization:

  • Geography and climate
  • Local and regional laws
  • City infrastructure

2. Set ESG Objectives and Commitments 

Everyone, from the mayor to the city clerk, should understand their role in improving ESG ratings. The best way to ensure this is by setting a clear objective and allocating the necessary resources. If you’re struggling to do this, it may help to create an ESG committee or team with representatives from various departments.

But overall, your ESG commitments and objectives should be:

  • Realistic to ensure everyone is on the same page
  • Concise and time-bound to ensure everyone understands their responsibilities
  • Measurable so you can track your progress and benchmark your ESG rating based on clear ESG criteria

3. Policy Development and Implementation

Now that you’ve identified your ESG material issues and set clear objectives, it’s time to develop and implement the ESG policy. This should cover areas like energy use, waste management, sustainable procurement practices, and human rights policies. Your ESG policy may also include commitments such as carbon neutrality or resource efficiency approaches.

Once you’ve created the policy, it’s crucial to ensure everyone understands it and is on board. That means conducting regular training, briefings, and check-ins to ensure your ESG commitments are being met.

4. Governance and Responsibility

Creating and implementing an ESG policy isn’t enough; you must also ensure everyone is held accountable. That means assigning clear roles and responsibilities for each team member and assigning a dedicated person to monitor your progress toward meeting the objectives.

It’s also critical to create a practical governance framework that will help ensure compliance with the ESG policy. Below are a few tips:

  • Regularly assess ESG risks and opportunities.
  • Identify and monitor any potential non-compliance with the ESG policy.
  • Ensure that all relevant stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities.

5. Continuous Improvement and Review

Finally, you must regularly review and improve your ESG data to remain on the right track. Here are a few tips:

  • Regularly monitor your ESG rating and benchmark against other administrations or organizations.
  • Ensure any changes in the law or regulations can be accurately accounted for in your ESG policy.
  • Keep an eye out for any changes in stakeholders’ needs, such as the introduction of new green technologies.

How eScribe Facilitates Improved Governance

Gone are the days of printed handouts and the requirement that everyone be in the same room to conduct a meeting. Technology has facilitated a better, more efficient way to work and meet, both virtually and in person. For instance, a city treasurer can effortlessly record or track budgets, a city clerk can make sure all documents and decisions are made and recorded correctly, and an ESG reporting committee can document their policy’s progress with the click of a few buttons.

To power your ESG strategy, consider using eScribe, a meeting management platform for governments. Within the platform, you can quickly schedule meetings, create agendas, assign tasks to team members, and collaborate. Plus, with a built-in chat feature, you can discuss ESG policies in real-time and store all your conversations securely.

Among its valuable features are:

  • Meeting Manager: Easily schedule meetings, create agendas, assign tasks to team members, and keep track of all conversations.
  • Meeting Minutes: Quickly take notes and store them securely for later review or reference.
  • Reporting and Workflows: Track the progress of your ESG policy and quickly assign tasks to team members.
  • Collaboration Tools: Make sure everyone has access to all the meeting items they need, wherever they are.
  • Accessibility and Transparency: Encourage public engagement and drive transparency with a range of tools that eliminate traditional barriers to participation.

Creating an ESG policy is crucial to ensure your administration’s commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices. Following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily create an effective ESG policy to help your organization meet its long-term objectives. Additionally, with advanced technologies like our competitively-priced platform, creating and managing meetings, tasks, and conversations has never been easier.

Check out this City of Greensboro case study to see how eScribe helps governments save time and money while streamlining processes and reducing stress.