Katie Waskom is a Program Manager at Encamp, and is one of the top proponents of our mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. Given the growing relationship between environmental compliance and sustainability, we got her thoughts on the current state of sustainability, and how digital transformation fits into the sustainability equation with advancements in environmental compliance management and reporting.

Here’s what Katie had to share (responses have been edited for clarity and length).

Putting Environmental Compliance and Sustainability in Perspective 

Where did your interest in environmental compliance and sustainability start? 

I first took an interest in sustainability in college when I was part of an on-campus initiative and recycling program. Then when I studied abroad in Germany, my course work was in sustainability. Germany is extremely forward thinking in those terms, and they actually embed sustainability in their laws and environmental regulations. That’s where I learned what being sustainable really looks like — how it affects some 4,500 German companies and plays out in day to day life, how easy it is to transition, and especially how environmental compliance and sustainability work together.  

After college, I took what I learned in Germany to my first job, which was at Cummins, Inc. Cummins is a global manufacturer of power systems for industries including trucking, agriculture, mining, rail, shipping, and others, and they have an extensive ESG | Sustainability Reporting program. They had some lofty goals for sustainability while I was there, and a lot of pieces to still put in place. So it was a very good experience. But Encamp is where the environmental compliance aspect has come into a much clearer focus.

How would you define sustainability and its current state? 

Sustainability applies to a lot of different things. Right now, the sustainability movement is based largely on the three pillars of environmental, social, and economic concerns. For businesses in particular, an effective sustainability program considers how such an initiative gets paid for and its economic benefit, plus the initiative’s social reach and who will benefit. Businesses also want to show they’re good stewards of the environment. This is where environmental compliance and sustainability are becoming more aligned. 

As an investment decision-making criteria, sustainability reporting is becoming more and more critical… It allows people to determine a company’s stance on social issues and protecting the environment. 

Yet as ESG has taken center stage, sustainability has increasingly involved environmental and social governance as a financial component, especially for investing. This is why sustainability reporting is so critical now, since it allows people to determine a company’s stance on social issues and protecting the environment as investment decision-making criteria. 

Writer’s note: As the Corporate Governance Institute says, Environmental, Social, Governance criteria are “a set of standards for how a company operates regarding the planet and its people.” (See our related Encamp blog on ESG.)

How does digital transformation contribute to a company’s sustainability cause?

Technology contributes to the mix of environmental compliance and sustainability in multiple ways. For a company’s sustainability program, knowing where data originates and where it resides is integral to pursuing sustainability goals. Encamp’s unified data system, in particular, enables companies to centralize compliance data and validate its sources and quality. Data also becomes more visible for compliance reporting, which lets compliance teams and other organizational stakeholders track and QC/QA data in a more thorough manner to ensure its accuracy.

forest filled with trees at sunriseAlso on behalf of our customers, we partner with a non-profit called One Tree Planted to plant a tree somewhere in the world for every Tier II report a customer files using Encamp. The effort ties directly to carbon offsetting. Since 2018 when Encamp started working with One Tree Planted, we’ve had more than 18,000 new trees planted!

Another positive contribution for sustainability is that advancements in digital technology make data management and reporting more efficient with a digital transformation approach. Along with digitizing their compliance records, EHS teams can turn report compilation tasks into standardized, sustainable processes through automation. In addition to centralizing compliance data, for instance, the Encamp solution also automates final report submissions to all applicable regulatory agencies at the federal, state and local level. Depending on the number of facilities they have to file compliance reports for, our customers routinely save hundreds of hours every year just in the reporting process. 

How can businesses drive sustainability efforts by way of compliance?

Back to sustainability’s environmental aspect, companies can reduce their carbon footprint significantly just by adopting sustainable business processes. This is why environmental compliance technologies like Encamp continue to build more automation into the process for compliance data and reporting management, which continually improves productivity by maximizing technology resources as well as human resources.

For social responsibility, environmental compliance enables companies to report hazardous chemicals they manufacture, use or store on-site to regulatory agencies. With consistent monitoring, environmental compliance and sustainability goals alike are easily tracked and achieved. Here again, utilizing a unified data system provides comprehensive monitoring capabilities to know the status of a facility’s chemical list and inventories at all times and stay in continuous compliance.

When a company’s compliance program becomes sustainable this way, it benefits nearby communities and society as a whole — which can enhance a company’s environmental responsibility as well as its brand, customer base, and even decision-making and profitability. This is what we mean at Encamp when we say what’s good for business can be good for the environment.

Lastly for the economic part of sustainability, non-compliance with environmental regulations can be costly in more ways than one. For the most severe or repeated violations, financial penalties and legal fees can easily reach six figures, or sometimes in the millions. But unsustainable practices for compliance and reporting management can be also expensive because they’re largely inefficient and often fail to put the right resources to use. Sustainable business practices for environmental compliance can help companies and their EHS operations pinpoint areas of improvement and reduce such inefficiency, including costs.

What is your outlook for sustainability in the next few years? 

I think sustainability is definitely a topic people are becoming more aware of. And whether as consumers or B2B decision-makers, they’ll want to do business with companies that are like minded. This is a really powerful dynamic, and will continue to make environmental compliance and sustainability a package deal for businesses and consumers alike who want to protect the environment and take a sustainable approach to doing it.

I also see the economic aspect of sustainability being an even greater consideration for investors than ESG has already made it. If a business wants to attract investors, expand operations, or even position itself for acquisition, its sustainability efforts will have to be of top level importance in the eyes of potential investors as well as customers. In that sense, a company’s sustainability efforts are visible. They’re tangible. And especially with a well-managed sustainability program, businesses can make a positive impact with it. 

Organizationally, larger enterprises will continue to make the most impact with sustainability programs. Primarily, they have bigger carbon footprints that benefit from sustainable practices. But larger brand-name companies also tend to have boards of directors who are very forward thinking toward environmental and social causes. They’re environmentally and socially responsible, naturally, but they also understand how their businesses are perceived by the public. And they certainly have the financial and economic clout to promote sustainability. 

These enterprises will increasingly set the tone for companies of all sizes to implement sustainability initiatives going forward. Environmental compliance and sustainability will also continue to become a common cause for businesses in general.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

Add Encamp CEO and co-founder Luke Jacobs to the Forbes 30 Under 30 class of 2022, where he’s been recognized in the category for Enterprise Technology

Members of the 30 Under 30 lists in their respective categories are selected based on factors ranging from funding and company revenue to social consciousness and impact, climate awareness, inventiveness in technology and services, and personal and business potential. Nominee shortlists are reviewed by each category’s four-judge panel of Forbes reporters, editors and invited experts, who then select the final 30 listees in their assigned category.

In marking the 10th year of the 30 Under 30 list, 70% of the 2022 members are founders or co-founders of companies — joining alumni like Daniel Ek, co-founder and CEO of Spotify, Whitney Wolfe Herd, who started Bumble, and Drew Houston, who co-founded Dropbox. Others on the 2022 list have introduced notable innovations that will seed emerging companies in the future. Collectively, the class of 2022 has also raised over $1 billion in funding for their entrepreneurial efforts.

Imagining a “new world” 

“Much of 2022 was being freshly created by this group back in 2012,” said Alexandra Wilson, the editor of Forbes Under 30. “Ten years from today, it’s a good bet we’ll all be living in a new world being imagined today by the entrepreneurs, innovators and entertainers that make up our 10th Anniversary class.”

As Jacobs said of his 30 Under 30 recognition, “It takes a village at Encamp. I appreciate everyone’s hard work to make the company successful and continue obsessing about our customers. We’re only at the beginning of this journey and I’m so proud of the work that we’re accomplishing together.”

Jacobs was also recently appointed to the Forbes Technology Council, an invitation-only organization for senior-level executives who are selected for their knowledge of and diverse experience in the tech industry.

Here in large part is why Forbes included Jacobs as a member of its prestigious 30 Under 30 list for 2022. 

The initial vision for Encamp

Jacobs, who earned his B.S. in Environmental Science, co-founded Encamp in 2017 after working as an EHS consultant for Fortune 10 companies and experiencing the inefficient processes of environmental compliance reporting. For decades, such reporting had been performed manually — and often inaccurately — using spreadsheets, paper records, and disjointed data management systems. Compliance data itself had also historically been questionable and poorly managed. 

The aim of Encamp was therefore to create technology to digitize reporting data, centralize and validate it, and automate the report submission process.  

“My thinking was,” Jacobs said, “If we could make large enterprises even 1% more efficient in the way they manage compliance reporting, the impact of that is vast at scale.” Just as he envisioned, Encamp has become an operations company born from the compliance management technology it created. 

Using the Encamp platform, companies efficiently move packets of data from their regulated facilities to their environmental operations teams and compliance professionals for reporting. Encamp further creates a traceable “paper trail” to know where data comes from and increase data visibility to gauge and ensure its quality. 

In effect, Encamp’s technology is the unifying data speck that enables companies to mitigate the risks of reporting errors and non-compliance violations, a claim supported by the EHS analysts at Verdantix in their recently published Encamp Case Study Report

Encamp’s ongoing mission is to create a world where
good for business can equal good for the environment. 

On environmental sustainability and ESG

Some of the other reasons Forbes selected Jacobs for their 30 Under 30 2022 list are his views on how enterprise technology, the environment, sustainability, and compliance reporting intersect in the business world. We asked him about his thoughts on sustainability and ESG in particular.

What important message do you think should businesses share when it comes to environmental sustainability?

Jacobs: Businesses should definitely focus on transparent reporting and knowing where their data comes from and where it lives. The ability to measure the progress of their sustainability initiatives offers greater clarity for investors and better decision making for the business itself, especially ones that are consciously addressing their impact on the climate. 

How can companies make their data accessible for environmental sustainability? 

Jacobs: Sustainability and making data readily accessible is a must, which in turn makes digitizing sustainability data vital. When environmental compliance data pipelines are digitized and standardized, it improves data collaboration and accessibility. Ultimately this lets businesses provide transparent, honest data to investors and consumers as well as the general public.

Do you think there’s a lag in making this data accessible, and if so, why?

Jacobs: Sustainability starts by knowing where your data comes from and where it lives. A business’s holy grail is the data they collect, manage, and interpret, and the data accessibility issues we see most at Encamp are businesses not knowing where their data is. When this happens, it typically results in inconsistent reporting metrics across the organization, and data that’s inaccurate and of poor quality.

How can businesses use ESG sentiments to measure sustainability or evolve their brand?

Jacobs: Organizations can benefit from ESG sentiments in their brand by empowering the company and employees to get involved with sustainability initiatives, both internally and externally. At Encamp, for instance, we’ve aligned with non-profits such as One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every Tier II compliance report we file on behalf of our customers. We’ve already surpassed 18,000 trees, and we know the number will continue to grow substantially as we increase our customer base. Many of our employees even donate to the One Tree Planted cause, and we constantly encourage them to volunteer for other similar mission-driven environmental efforts. 

Measuring these efforts and making them visible adds to the momentum necessary for effective sustainability programs. It also evolves a company’s brand to genuinely reflect the desire to make an impact on an individual and corporate level. 

Would you say environmental compliance is the backbone of beating climate change?

Jacobs: Environmental compliance is essential to combating climate change, particularly in making large-scale action involving corporations possible to protect the environment. We must continue to translate global climate initiatives into regulations that establish compliance requirements for businesses and countries to abide by, track towards, and regularly report on.

At the same time, companies and their EHS and Operations teams must take a more proactive approach to compliance itself, which we talk about in Encamp’s eBook on Proactive Environmental Compliance.

On starting Encamp, its strengths, and staying inspired

What surprised you most about starting a company? 

Jacobs: One of my mentors told me early into building Encamp that you’re always going to overestimate what you can accomplish in one year, and underestimate what you can accomplish in five years. I’ve been surprised by how true that has been. A year after co-founding Encamp, we had achieved less than I had expected. Now we’re four years in, and we’ve accomplished more for our customers and as a company. I’ve really learned that growing a company and really innovating in a field takes years — but after multiple years it’s possible to make incredible progress.

What do you feel is Encamp’s biggest strength right now? 

Jacobs: From a financial perspective, our net revenue retention is absolutely amazing. The fact that Encamp has 6- and 7-figure deals as a startup (that’s only had employees for three years) is a strong underlying signal of the enterprise value we deliver. From a solutions perspective, Encamp has process power in how we’re thinking about environmental compliance from a first principles perspective and leveraging next generation technology to create order of magnitude efficiency increases at scale for our customers.

Guided Environmental Compliance eBookWe’re a technology company competing in a managed service provider space, and by automating compliance reporting and building digital transformation tools and practices into the process, we have a lot of competitive differentiating abilities compared to a consulting firm. Those two aspects of Encamp are extremely strong and provide a ton of value to our customers, as does our Guided Environmental Compliance method that blends our high-tech software with the high-touch support of our compliance and technology experts. We explain the method in our Guided Environmental Compliance eBook.

What qualities and skills do you look for in emerging leaders?

Jacobs: In a startup, being a self starter is the most important trait of a leader. It’s not corporate. There’s not an established playbook. Lots of things are ambiguous because you’re continuing to ideate them out and make them real. Another principal quality of an emerging leader is a real desire to lead, not because you want to be “the leader” or have a title, but because you sincerely want to help guide and grow organizational functions. Being a good communicator and listener and possessing general intelligence never hurts, either.

Many entrepreneurs turn to mentors at some point in their journey. How do you view mentorship?

Jacobs: Most people, especially if they’re further along in their career, love to help entrepreneurs who are putting themselves out there. Even before starting Encamp, I’ve always focused on getting mentors to discuss my ideas with them and hear their thoughts. The knowledge they have is invaluable, and mentors are vital to your own self-discovery and self-drive. 

Final question. How do you stay inspired?

Jacobs: I try to find the things I really enjoy about the process of building Encamp and changing how companies manage their compliance operations and the process of compliance reporting. We truly have introduced a better way of managing data and reporting that for decades was an archaic manual process. So I always try to see this bigger picture and realize I’m much more satisfied being on this journey than not. Building a company is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s changed how I prioritize my life and my day.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

For most EHS professionals, regulatory environmental compliance reporting is often riddled with ever-evolving state regulations, complex state requirements, and the pressure to build a future-proof, sustainable business.

ehs on tap

 

Encamp CEO and Co-founder Luke Jacobs talks about
the importance of environmental compliance.

Listen in on this episode of the EHS on Tap podcast.

 

For many companies and their EHS teams and Operations staff, building a robust and effective compliance program comes with its own pitfalls. And for such a program, developing it, implementing it, and making sure it’s also sustainable is easier said than done.

You understand that staying in compliance means avoiding costly fines and operational stoppage, but manual and non-standardized processes across your facilities makes accurate and timely compliance reporting harder to achieve.

Sound familiar? 

After spending years as an environmental scientist, Encamp CEO and Co-founder Luke Jacobs knows just how real the struggle is for EHS professionals and organizations to understand and embrace environmental compliance.

To help them understand the complexities of compliance, EHS on Tap recently invited Luke to share his expertise. Tune in to listen to Luke’s expert insights on how to keep your environmental compliance goals on track.

Episode expert advice

“For the first time ever, people are managing their environmental compliance programs from home offices and distributed locations. All of that is really presenting a big challenge, but also a big opportunity for companies to accelerate their digital adoption and transformation. But with that there are all sorts of challenges. Just setting up systems is hard, choosing the right one, there’s training and adoption. All those efforts, if done well and if you pick the right system, are really impactful and have long-term gains.”

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

From the environmental compliance experts at Encamp

It’s no secret that at Encamp, we’re passionate about the environment and sustainability. We’re also experts at binge watching (thanks, streaming culture!) environmental documentaries that are great ways to learn about the state of the planet and how we can create sustainable ways to protect it for future generations.

Our five favorite environmental documentaries

From climate change to ocean pollution, here is a list of our five favorite documentaries (in no particular order), compiled by our team of environmental compliance experts, that are worth binge-watching today:

Kiss The Ground (2020)

Kiss The Ground is an award-winning full-length documentary brought on by an all-star team of environmental and agricultural experts in 2020. The documentary has its eyes set on climate change and how regenerative agriculture can balance the climate, replenish the water supply, and keep endangered species off the extinction list. Though it paints a grim picture of today’s present situation, the film also showcases the positive effects of regeneration and how it can reverse the effects of climate change. 

environmental documentary

Encamper Review: “This documentary talks about soil, carbon sequestration, and how changing farming practices could pretty much reverse global warming.” – Jack, Engineering at Encamp

The Devil We Know (2018)

The Devil We Know is an investigative documentary released in 2018 that highlights the alleged health hazards of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and how it contaminated a community in West Virginia. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and her team’s research uncovered a much bigger problem: how nearly all Americans are exposed to this particular synthetical chemical via their food and water.

environmental documentary

Encamper Review: “It’s WORTH IT – extremely eye opening and a great example of environmental injustice.” – Katie, Customer Experience 

Mission Blue (2014)

This 2014 marine documentary follows Dr. Silvia Earle and her mission to save the world’s oceans from overfishing and toxic waste. Dr. Earle and her team identify Hope Spots, special places in the deep blue sea that are critical to the ocean’s health.

environmental documentary

Encamper Review: “It’s an in depth look at the threats to the world’s oceans and what policies are needed to prevent further environmental destruction.“ – Ian, Marketing

Seaspiracy (2021)

Seaspiracy is one of the most popular environmental documentaries to come out in 2021. It shines a light on the destruction of the marine ecosystem brought about by plastic marine debris, ghost fishing, and commercial fishing around the world. Did you know that commercial fishing has wiped out 90% of the world’s large fish population?

environmental documentary

Encamper Review: “It was pretty eye opening… but also very depressing.” – Amy, Encamp Sales

Brave Blue World (2020)

A personal favorite, Brave Blue World premiered in 2020 headlined by Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, and Jaden Smith. This feature-length documentary embraces modern solutions to today’s water sustainability challenges. It also offers a fresh new perspective at looking at how digital technology bridges with environmental sustainability to solve present challenges and create a better future for water.

environmental documentary

Encamper Review: “It’s an in depth look at the world’s water crisis and what people are doing to innovate and solve the issue of access to clean drinking water.” – Ian, Marketing 

Do you have any must-see environmental documentaries on your list? 

Send them our way! Use the hashtag #ThisIsEncamp and follow us on our social channels: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

Fellow EHS Professionals,

You know in the movie Field of Dreams when the voice tells Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) to “Build it and he will come”? That’s my plan for the webinar Encamp is co-presenting with leading environmental compliance experts from chemical company Hexion and EHS research firm Verdantix on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 11 am ET (8 am PT).  

We’ve titled the event “The Path to Proactive Environmental Compliance,” and as CEO and Co-founder of Encamp, this is my invitation for you to join in the conversation.  

If you’ve ever had to deal with the complexities of environmental compliance reporting, like I did before Encamp took shape, this webinar can help you avoid them. After all, it’s time to stop losing sleep over non-compliance — and to start being confident with proactive environmental compliance management.

You’ll learn how to

Who you are

Whether you’re a corporate buyer, technical leader, or someone who plays a role in your company’s EHS and compliance operations, we’re reserving a virtual front-row seat for you. 

Who our webinar panelists are

Renee Decker, Hexion 

As EH&S Development Program Engineer at Hexion, Renee is focused on Tier II, TRI, and other environmental reporting. She’s also working with colleagues to transform Hexion’s compliance practices by streamlining and standardizing their reporting processes. Renee graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering.  

Bill Pennington, Verdantix

Bill is the Research Director in the Verdantix EHS practice covering EHS software, best practices and innovative technologies, including emerging solutions like industrial wearables and mobile EHS apps. Prior to Verdantix, he worked in corporate EHS roles in the manufacturing and logistics industries. Bill holds an MBS degree in Sustainability from Rutgers University.

Luke Jacobs, Encamp 

Before I co-founded Encamp in 2017 and got the title of CEO, I was an Environmental Scientist at GDH. That’s when I decided environmental compliance reporting had to be faster and easier — thus Encamp. Also as I’ve always been, I’m still an active researcher, writer and speaker. I earned a BS in Environmental Science from Indiana University, along with a Certificate of Underwater Resource Management from IU.

Join us for an hour

Register Now!

Protecting the environment is important to all of us in the EHS realm, and one way to do it is through a sustainable best-in-class compliance program. 

Please join us on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 11 am ET (8 am PT), and we’ll discuss how we can all do our part — faster, easier, and better.

Chat later,

Luke

By now, more than a few readers have likely heard colleagues or management use the term “ESG” (Environmental, Social, [Corporate] Governance) to describe a new program, business driver, or company objective. Some of you might be puzzled by this acronym or maybe you’re trying to figure out how it affects you at all.

The Corporate Governance Institute frames  Environmental, Social, Governance criteria as “a set of standards for how a company operates regarding the planet and its people.” Today, socially conscious investors now use ESG criteria to screen companies to ensure environmental performance is in line with their values and objectives. 

While ESG may seem to have come out of nowhere, it first took shape decades ago.

A brief history of ESG… and I mean brief

Like many things in business, ESG has become a bit of a buzzword, but it’s not a new concept. In fact, the concept of investing for social or environmental good dates back to the 1950s when trade unions invested in various activities designed to foster healthy and vibrant communities. Towards the turn of the century, the term triple bottom line was coined by John Elkington, founder of SustainAbility (acquired by ERM in 2019), in 1998. 

Through the early 2000s, more and more research demonstrated that ESG performance was complementary to a firm’s bottom line. In many cases, performance was a predictor of a firm’s financial performance. A retrospective study by Gunnar Friede et al. in 2015 reviewed more than 2,000 empirical studies, and found that about 90% of them showed a non-negative correlation between ESG and corporate financial performance; the majority of studies demonstrated a positive finding.  

In 2006, The United Nations developed the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which established a voluntary framework for investment firms to sign on to. Signatories agree to use ESG performance metrics and criteria as part of their financial evaluation of a company. According to PRI, there are currently nearly 4,000 signatories with over $120 trillion in assets under management (AUM). 

Today, ESG encompasses both investors and corporate management. This is relationship is encapsulated perfectly encapsulated by G&A Institute’s definition for ESG: 

ESG is an approach being taken by investors and corporate management that considers material environmental, social and governance issues in the governance, strategies, policies, programs and disclosure of the company.

So why has the buzz around ESG gotten louder? 

The simple answer is that investors are getting louder. Publicly traded companies are required under SEC Rule 14a-8 to put most shareholder measures up for a vote during the annual proxy meeting. Any investor who owns at least $2,000 worth of shares or 1% of securities for one year can submit a shareholder proposal to be included in the annual proxy vote. This has led to a wave of ESG-focused proxy votes over the last five years according to a report in the Harvard Law School Forum for Corporate Governance. Shareholder measures have focused on a myriad of topics, including asking executive management to disclose details on climate change, water scarcity, human rights, indigenous rights, political spending, and anti-corruption practices, to name just a few recent areas of focus. 

These proxy measures are driving the C-suite and corporate boards to pivot away from business as usual, and identify and implement programs and processes to improve operational excellence, risk management, corporate governance, and sustainability. All of these efforts have a cost. But as Gunnar et al. showed in their research, such efforts more often than not positively impact the bottom line when implemented correctly. A recent panel discussion hosted by EY America highlighted a number of areas that corporate leaders — especially boards of directors — need to be cognizant of in order to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders. 

Leader or laggard? 

For most companies, access to capital markets is critical for success. Angry shareholders and poor stock performance can impact access to these markets or result in a company paying more to borrow less — which is the opposite of the virtuous cycle. Institutional investors are realizing that the need for systemic change in how companies are evaluated is both needed and desired by their clients. Whether hedge funds, private equity firms or traditional investment firms, the demand for ESG focused products and services is growing, as is the amount of assets under management. 

As noted by Alicia McIlhaney in her recent article in Institutional Investor, asset managers across the globe are finally starting to take ESG seriously. According to a recent article from CNBC, ESG funds doubled in value in 2020 — the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, while an article from Finerva demonstrated that ESG leaders outperformed the markets and laggards during the COVID-19 selloff in early 2020. Bloomberg also noted that ESG funds may represent $53T in AUM by 2025 — which would be more than one-third of all assets under management. 

These are data points that CEOs and CFOs can’t just ignore. This is why it is critical that the C-suite and board of directors look for opportunities to address their company’s most pressing ESG issues, or risk getting left behind as shareholder and consumer attitudes and expectations evolve beyond dollars and cents. 

Environmental Compliance, from cost of doing business to how business gets done

It’s no secret that environmental compliance has oftentimes been viewed as the stuff companies can’t do rather than a business driver. It is strategically impossible to drive operational excellence, mitigate risks, and address critical ESG concerns without strong environmental compliance programs. 

The growth of ESG, SRI, and sustainability initiatives are providing environmental teams an opportunity to flip the narrative and help companies develop comprehensive business strategies that drive real results while minimizing environmental risks and impacts.

I recall working for one of the largest renewable energy companies, and reminding colleagues that billions of dollars of capital deployed by the company to build new wind and solar sites couldn’t have happened without the Environmental Department securing approvals from state and federal environmental agencies — as well as ensuring that compliance was maintained during construction through the operating life of the facilities.  

With that anecdote in mind, think about all of the compliance and risk management objectives you and your colleagues are tasked with on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Are you overwhelmed by the scope of breadth? Whether you’re managing stakeholder relationships, helping the company expand its operations, handling agency reporting, or ensuring Operations is meeting their environmental compliance obligations facility by facility, Environmental teams are critical to success across a wide-array of companies spanning various industry sectors.

Is your business creating value?

I’ll close with five open ended questions based on an article from McKinsey & Company, “Five ways that ESG creates value”. 

We’ll discuss more aspects of ESG in future posts. Stay tuned.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

Welcome to another EHS Moment from Encamp… This time I want to talk about two things that don’t even seem to fit in the same sentence: My interest in shoes, and my interest in the environment, sustainability, and lowering the carbon footprint. Because what do shoes have to do with the environment, right? (Encamp is all about protecting the environment through environmental compliance.)

The answer is, thanks to Nike, shoes now have everything to do with the environment and sustainability — driven by the lowest carbon footprint their shoes have ever provided.

Lowest carbon footprint shoe ever made

In July 2020, Nike released its Space Hippie shoe collection, and they were reported at the time to be the lowest carbon footprint shoe ever made. Space Hippies consist mostly of recycled material — yes, they’re literally made of trash! — and Nike offers four models to choose from. (My favorite is the Space Hippie 01, which provides the traditional lace-up with the one-of-a-kind Nike Crater Foam outsoles.)

With Nike leading the way, shoe companies’ efforts towards waste-free carbon neutrality and keeping sustainability at the top of mind is a huge step. Nike says as much with their Space Hippie lineup and the approach they’re taking to producing them to provide a minimal carbon footprint.

“Space Hippie,” as Nike puts it, “is the result of sustainable practices meeting radical design.”

Recycled materials are key

When you take a closer look at Space Hippies, the material the shoes are made of stands out. Overall, the fabric is 85% to 90% recycled, with 50% of that coming from plastic bottles and other plastic waste. Along with recycled plastics, 25% of the shoes’ material consists of old consumer goods, like t-shirts. The remaining material is a mix of Nike yarn or other leftover materials in their factories. It’s a low carbon footprint all the way around.

So that’s the upper half of Space Hippies. On the bottom half, the carbon footprint stays low. The cushion sole is made of Nike Zoom X foam, or what Nike calls crater foam, of which 15% is made from grain rubber. That’s where you get the Nike proprietary mix and little flecks and specks inside the foam, which really stands out stylistically. And as a shoe enthusiast, I think the new Space Hippies are really good-looking shoes.

Yet while making shoes from recycled materials is a positive step for Nike and the environment, it isn’t necessarily a new concept for the global shoe and sportswear maker. To date, Nike has already been recognized for diverting roughly 1 billion plastic bottles from landfills to be recycled for greater sustainable good.

Beyond Nike, other shoe companies are also now escalating their efforts toward waste-free carbon neutrality and sustainability in the materials they use. On that list: Saolo, Indosole, Timberland, North Face, MOVMT, and Nike competitors adidas and Converse, among others. It’s a move in the right direction both for our environment and for the business world itself.

These efforts also reinforce what we always say at Encamp: What’s good for business can equal good for the environment.

Read about another EHS Moment: Diageo’s 100% Plastic Free Bottle
Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance
Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

Today I want to talk about a company that’s quickly becoming one of my favorites — and not just for the items they make. The company is Diageo, and for the record they’re the spirit company that produces Johnny Walker, Guinness, and Smirnoff.

Now, making scotch, ale and vodka is all well and good. But environmentally, Diageo always keeps sustainability top of mind in most everything they do. The company is known for their industry leading environmental goals and achievements as much as they are for the spirits they sell.

In 2020, in fact, Diageo announced they had achieved most of the sustainability goals they set back in 2008. They cut their greenhouse gas emissions in half across its direct operations, improved water efficiency by 46%, and achieved zero waste to landfill at all production sites and offices.

So kudos to Diageo.

The first 100% plastic free paper-based bottle

Also in 2020, the company announced they had created their first 100% plastic free bottle, made entirely of paper-based products.

Ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking. We’ve all used paper straws, and not all of us are fans of paper straws. As you drink more, they tend to break down. I hear you.

But by a “paper bottle,” I’ll reiterate it’s paper based. Diageo’s new bottle, which debuted with Johnny Walker in early 2021, is made entirely from sustainably sourced wood to meet food-safe standards. It’s also fully recyclable in standard waste streams. 

Likewise, this new bottle now allows other brands to rethink their packaging designs and go plastic free. Safe to say, Diageo is pushing sustainability and environmental innovation — which is what we all want.

Look for more of our daily EHS Moment videos on your favorite social channel. And please, give them a like or leave a comment. You can also watch the entire video series on the Encamp YouTube page.

Remember, what’s good for business can equal good for the environment.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

 

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