The National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM) recently published its annual trends report – Planning for a Sustainable Future. This report documents the key issues on the minds of corporate environmental, health & safety and sustainability leaders today. These trends are a barometer for all of us in the EHS and sustainability space, both business users and vendors alike.
It should be no surprise that this year’s trends point again to rapid change in our quickly evolving market. As the industry continues to take steps beyond simple, reactive compliance with regulations, towards making sustainability and EHS issues drive core business strategy, the NAEM research found that the priorities of EHS leaders are shifting as well.
I’d like to highlight 3 major emerging trends from the report that business leaders should be aware of with regards to EHS and sustainability.
1. Focus on impact outside your own walls
The global impact of your business and the footprint your organization leaves behind is implied when it comes to anything to do with sustainability. That being said, NAEM found that stakeholder engagement and the expectations that stakeholders now have when it comes to how organizations define sustainability leadership are changing. Stakeholders expect leaders to not only measure their impact outside their own walls but also work proactively with those affected. As a result, the role that stakeholders themselves play in sustainability leadership is coming in to focus.
This broadened understanding of influence has refined the focus of many organizations through the lens of materiality. Materiality is a principle to help define and determine the business, social and environmental topics that matter most to a business and its stakeholders and is a topic we’ve discussed here before.
2. Desire for transparency
Stakeholders don’t want to just feel involved in the process at the front end, they also want to see the results and impact of their involvement. This typically manifests as stakeholders putting increasing demands on organizations for transparency around their sustainability goals, strategies and initiatives. We’ve discussed this trend at length here at Intelex and represents one of the biggest macro change drivers not only in the world of EHS but in business as a whole.
Some additional thoughts behind what else might be driving this increased demand for business transparency can be found here.
3. Focus on collaboration
Finally, the solution in place for much of this change that is being adopted rapidly is not any single product or tool set. It’s the wholehearted adoption of a philosophy — collaboration and collaborative business.
Increasingly, business leaders are not looking exclusively within their own walls for solutions. Instead, they are working across industry, as well as alongside stakeholders in a collaborative manner to not only solve problems but pave the way for what could be radical disruption.
Here are Intelex, building a forum for collaboration is something we’ve been leading the market and is an example of walking the talk. The Intelex Community is our contribution to the world of cross industry collaboration, bringing EHS and quality leaders and professionals together from all corners of the world to share ideas, best practices and challenges in a communal fashion.
To read more of the NAEM report and to see the other trends that you’ll need to be aware of as you think through your own sustainability objectives download here.