A Global, Corporate and Individual Look at ESG Practices

Amy Fuhlman

Satu Kaivonen explains ESG from a global, company and individual level, proving that every voice matters.

In a previous blog, we introduced our ESG Manager Satu Kaivonen and discussed how ESG is increasingly changing the mission of global corporations. In this blog, Satu shares more insight on global adoption of sustainable processes and what we can do to advance the cause. 

Sustainability Practice Differences between Europe and North America 

Europe is already well advanced in the green transition. Sustainable materials, green electricity and phasing out fossil-based solutions is encouraged and even demanded throughout the continent. To remain a valuable partner, and in some cases, to be able to provide an offer for your customers, ambitious climate targets are required. With Europe requiring carbon emissions to be reported and verified, it’s clear to see that Europe aims to take the lead in ESG. 

In North America, it´s a totally different scenario. The attitude toward climate change varies widely among various states. For example, at the end of 2022, the state of Florida announced that it will withdraw two billion dollars of its assets from the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock, that has taken a stand to favor responsible investing and ESG values. Some US banks have announced that they will withdraw from projects that promise cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. On the other hand, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has a far-reaching $2.6 billion investment plan that ensures all Californians benefit from its transition to zero-emission transportation. Overall, 17 states have adopted California’s Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) regulations. While private US companies play a crucial role in driving climate action, it's important to note that their efforts are often voluntary and driven by a combination of factors, including market opportunities, reputational concerns, regulatory pressures, and stakeholder expectations. The game changer is customer needs, and as we know, the global wood industry is very much at the core of solving climate and biodiversity challenges. We expect that moving forward the demand of ESG practices will become a non-negotiable. 


 Making Changes at the Corporate Level

For companies trying to determine how to incorporate ESG into their practices, it’s important to first identify where the majority of impact lies; what is its most significant environmental impact? How are the controls built in to secure no corruption or bribery? How are social elements like safety, wellbeing and diversity included in daily processes? Then a plan of change and action must be enacted, providing the necessary resources and time to support each step. Success is more likely when a baseline, target level and follow through are clearly included in the action plan. To become more sustainable is more than an investment – it’s an attitude to constantly improve and cascade the change all the way to your supply chain.

To become more ESG compliant, a company must implement foundational changes such as establishing clear ESG goals and policies, integrating ESG considerations into decision-making, strengthening stakeholder engagement, enhancing reporting and transparency, investing in ESG education and training, and aligning incentives and performance metrics. These changes can benefit the company by enhancing reputation and brand value, improving risk management, facilitating access to capital, boosting employee engagement and retention, and creating long-term value for shareholders and stakeholders. 

What Can We as Individuals Do

Individuals can drive ESG efforts by adopting and engraining sustainable habits in their daily lives, such as reducing energy and water consumption, minimizing waste, improving on recycling and composting, using environmentally sustainable products, and choosing sustainable transportation options. Consumers have a lot of strength making change by voting with their voice and actions.

From another perspective, individuals can impact change through the companies they support. Choosing to work with ESG-focused companies, aligning investments with ESG principles, advocating for change, supporting community initiatives, and holding companies accountable for their ESG commitments all make a difference. When you consider the combined effects of individual actions, the collective contributions lead to a more sustainable and socially responsible future. 

At the workplace, a single employee can support ESG initiatives by:

These actions contribute to creating a workplace culture that values environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and ethical governance. 

ESG is even impacting our younger citizens. A youth-led climate movement has gained momentum in North America, with young people organizing protests, strikes, and advocacy campaigns to demand stronger action on climate change from governments and businesses. This activism has helped raise awareness as well as influence public discourse on the issue. 

If this blog prompts you to examine how you are walking the sustainability walk, then we’ve done our job. Your voice holds a mighty power when it comes to change, so let us hear you loud and clear. We have embraced the mission at Raute and support your efforts to do the same in your slice of the world.