How to Implement a Meaningful ESG Plan for a Producer

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When Michael Cook joined Jabil a few years ago as vice president of social and environmental responsibility, the electronics maker’s ESG playbook included massive commitments to reducing carbon emissions.

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Now, the giant global company based in St. Petersburg, Florida, has an exhaustive list of objectives for the next five years, and it could be instructive for other manufacturing majors to learn how Cook put those goals together and implemented the solutions. trying to do.

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“It was no surprise that reducing our carbon and greenhouse gases was of paramount importance to our customers, as they wanted to be able to talk with their customers about selling low-carbon products. [impact from] them,” Cook told the chief executive. “But the social dimension was also important, which we heard less about, including health and wellbeing issues. and governance, especially cyber security. ,

So Cook—who had come to Jabil from robotics maker ABB from Rolls-Royce and other previous manufacturers—worked at Jabil to come up with an overall ESG agenda for the company, building consumer-electronic products as a contractor. does, and helps other companies. With 260,000 employees at sites around the world, make their own products.

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Jabil’s “Journey to 2026” is based on strategic objectives in three areas. Operations and resources include goals such as water use reduction and greenhouse-gas emissions. People and Communities say, for example, 25% target for leadership positions held by women and 90% of managers training in mental-health resilience. And Innovative Solutions envisions six “circular-economy partnership projects” as well as improving cybersecurity.

“Our leaders, suppliers and customers tell us what’s important to them, and that’s how we designed our strategy for the next five years,” Cook said.

Here are some things Cook learned that may be helpful to ESG heads and others at the makers:

• Listen to stakeholders. Jabil doesn’t use much water in its operations and isn’t a significant greenhouse-gas emitter, so Cook said the company could have put those elements on the side burner in its 2026 goals.

“It’s not really physical for what we do,” he said. “But it’s important from an outside perspective, which helped give us the commitment to address those things. You have to make sure you see what’s important to your stakeholders.

• Involve everyone. Cook has tried to make ESG a concern or at least a public interest in the Jabil Matrix. One way was to incorporate a massive new commitment by the company and its employees to voluntariness, including the 2026 goal of including one million hours a year, up from Jabil’s previous allocation earlier this year. 80,000 hours of community volunteers a year work across the company. ,

Cook says, “That means a lot of people are going to communities to help with various stuff, and going to schools, and even looking at the water and waste in their homes.” ” “We’ve touched everyone throughout the organization in a little or big way.”

• Tension Measurable. “We wanted to make sure we were able to measure outcomes with clear goals and understand and define ROIs,” Cook says. For example, Jabil executives internalize the returns from “having a motivated workforce,” but can we really show that health and wellbeing programs are helping people become healthier and more productive? “

• Repeat the win. Jabil could create “some easy win-win conditions” with investments in, for example, energy efficiency that has already shown environmental results and ROI at some of its plants, such as chilling units and air-compressor systems. “We didn’t have to do a lot of research.”

• Really improve things. To improve its carbon-output rating, Jabil could easily “just buy carbon credits,” Cook said. “But that is not our strategy. It is first to reduce emissions on site, produce more solar power on site, and to make a commitment to sell their energy to us for three to five years from the producers of Treen Energy. is to be encouraged.

• Put DEI to work. This means not only “making sure we don’t discriminate against anyone,” Cook said, but measures like recruiting people with disabilities and helping them succeed at Jabil.

“We are struggling to get employees in many parts of the world, and these people are often dedicated and good employees,” he said. “So one thing we’ve done is design a workstation just for them.”

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