ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) is easily the hottest business topic in the manufacturing sector. Regulators, investors and the public are making careful choices about where they spend and how this will impact them. Reaching ESG targets is now a top priority for many businesses and a deep source of pride. Here we look at what ten businesses around the world are doing to improve their ESG performance.
Intelex is a global leader in environmental, health, safety and quality management (EHSQ) software.
“We believe that the greatest impact we’re having on ESG and sustainability is by helping our clients improve their efforts and initiatives through effective reporting,” explains Henderson. “Our ESG management software helps organisations gain valuable visibility about their performance against a range of different metrics – from emissions to worker safety. This enhanced factual perspective in turn leads to greater insight as to which aspects of their current ESG strategy are working and which might require further attention.”
LinkedIn: Intelex Technologies ULC
9. John Deere
Moline, Illinois, USA
CEO: John C. May
Jon Deere is the world’s biggest manufacturer of agricultural machinery.
In its 2021 Sustainability Report, Chairman and CEO John C. May said that he understood that the world’s many challenges could not be solved by equipment alone.
"Challenges like a deteriorating infrastructure, climate change, and social inequality push us to think beyond today," he said. "In our neighbourhoods and villages — where food security, housing, and education must be elevated we have made a commitment to future generations by investing at least US$200mn over the next 10 years, pledging bold support in places both familiar and far away.”
The company's highest priority ESG topics are:
Environmental: Soil health, water quality & emissions
Social: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Governance: Sustainable infrastructure
In 2022, the company enjoyed some unplanned PR, when John Deere’s famous green tractors were used by daring Ukrainian farmers, who pulled tanks abandoned by the Russian army back to their farms, to strip for parts, which certainly supported Ukraine in every part of its national ESG.
LinkedIn: John Deere
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, USA
COO: David Wing
Recently, Graycor appointed Michelle Palys as Vice President of Performance Excellence and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). She will lead the development and execution of Graycor’s ESG strategy, advancing its sustainability credentials across the company and furthering its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in its supply chain.
“Michelle’s dedication to performance excellence and continuous improvement has been evident throughout more than a decade working with us at Graycor,” said David Wing, President of Graycor Inc. “We’re thrilled that she will be taking on a greater role and leading the way toward achieving Graycor’s ongoing performance and ESG goals.”
“I have always been inspired by Graycor’s commitment to continuous improvement and diversity, and I’m excited to be driving these key company initiatives,” Michelle Palys says. “I look forward to advancing Graycor’s ESG efforts to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive community.”
CEO: Orral Nadjari
At Britishvolt, good corporate governance ensures its integrity. The company has set up a number of internal committees to support its broader ESG activities.
"These policies and statements ensure we meet our own internal expectations including fundamental ESG integration across our business," Britishvolt said in a statement.
The Board: focus on material areas of corporate governance, strategy, and risk.
Audit Committee: The Audit Committee is responsible for the effectiveness of the financial systems of risk, internal control, whistleblowing, and fraud risks.
CEO: Hein Schumacher
The S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) 2020, awarded Unilever a score of 90 out of 100 (PDF 225.25 KB) across a range of 27 environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria, for its strong sustainability efforts across the whole company. Niall FitzGerald, Former Unilever CEO, described ESG as something that's good for the company, “It's not [just] a nice thing to do… it’s good for business.”
CEO: Sheng Yue Gui
In 2020, Geely set up an ESG governance structure to promote sustainability across the company. The sustainability governance structure includes the Board of Directors, ESG Committee, ESG Leading Team, and ESG Task Force.
"Geely Holding Group promotes a kind of sustainable corporate development that generates exceptional commercial value and tremendous social value," said Daniel Li Donghui, CEO of Geely Holding Group. "As a responsible corporate citizen, Geely Holding Group considers all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the expectations of all Geely stakeholders, including investors, customers, partners, and employees, when formulating strategies and engaging in commercial activities. We continue to reduce wasteful energy use and carbon emissions, improve product quality and safety, invest in technological innovation with respect to intellectual property rights, and support industrial transformation as part of our efforts to create a better future. Today, carbon neutrality has become a global priority, the zero-carbon transformation is now a global consensus, and the green transformation of the automotive industry has since been fast-tracked. As an industry leader, the Geely Holding Group is always exploring different technological pathways and developing low-carbon solutions by investing in new energy and materials. We are most active in related fields such as passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and mobility as a shared service, and are also working with partners to promote low-carbon development across the automotive industry chain."
LinkedIn: Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd (GRU)
CEO: Ulf Mark Schneider
Every day, 4.5m KitKats are manufactured in 14 countries and sold in over 70 territories. Through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, KitKats are produced with 100% certified sustainable cocoa, with support from the Rainforest Alliance. A key focus area for Nestlé includes demonstrating its strength in ESG and leadership. The company defines itself as “an aligned, agile, and adaptable organisation that is committed to delivering results, not only within [the] supply chain but also in support of overall business priorities."
As part of its broader sustainability strategy, Nestlé has switched a large portion of its fleet to alternative fuel in a huge leap towards net-zero by 2050. “Running a network to ensure goods are transported around the country in a timely and efficient manner while reducing our carbon footprint, is a complicated task,” said Sally Wright, Head of Delivery at Nestlé UK & Ireland.
Rob Cameron, Head of Public Affairs and ESG engagement at Nestlé is working hard to remove child labour from its supply chains and get the company close to reaching its Net Zero goal. “We've passed peak carbon, so in absolute emissions terms, emissions are now trending downwards – that's in absolute terms, so even as we grow,” he said.
CEO: Takahito Tokita
Diversity and inclusion is an important part of the social element in ESG.
"The Purpose Statement of the Fujitsu Way is ‘to make the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation’ and as such the embedding of social value is at the core of who we were and are as an organisation," said Gary Young, Business Operations Director, UK Public Sector at Fujitsu UK. "Whereas in past business transactions, the question of diversity tended to be answered at the end of a bid, it’s now front and centre as part of ESG principles. It's informing how we deliver our contracts. It's informing where we engage with our customers and our people to deliver impact."
Among food manufacturers, reputation is everything. While many companies have made sustainability a top priority, Danone has had sustainability on its radar since the 1970s. The company understood then that economic progress could not happen without societal progress.
“It's all about how we fight the climate crisis, how we protect water resources, how we accelerate the circular economy towards packaging and how we fight food waste. Most importantly for Danone, as a globally recognised food company, is the ability to transition to regenerative agriculture practices. This is our guiding star, when it comes to preserving and protecting the planet’s resources,” said Paul Kennedy, Global Sustainability Manager at Danone Specialised Nutrition. "Our goal is to engender sustainability into the minutiae of its expansive network. It is imperative that we connect effectively with our procurement teams, farmers, suppliers and partners because, ultimately, it all impacts on our carbon footprint numbers. Additionally, working with our local markets establishes a really tangible connection with our brands and helps to yield a culture of sustainability.”
Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Leading car manufacturer Toyota has been integrating firm ESG standards across its global business, with a focus on accelerating sustainable development, in line with its commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This includes reducing pollution and waste, improving water quality and environmental management projects. Through Toyota's supply chain, the company has protected human rights, improved labour conditions, and its impact on the environment.
LinkedIn: Toyota Motor Corporation