Sustainability Report 2015
ERM continues to focus on helping our clients understand, create and implement solutions and programs in response to their changing needs around the broad sustainability agenda. Everything that we do is aimed at building the capacity to help clients create value in their businesses. We do, of course, recognize the important contribution that ERM makes to the environment and the communities in which we live and work. This report presents our sustainability performance in FY15 using examples of the valuable insights we provide to our clients, profiles of some of the 5,000 dedicated employees across ERM and the impact we are having as a result of the way in which we run our company.
We see 2015 as a turning point for the planet’s sustainability agenda. On the one hand, this agenda is likely to have a direct impact on the strategy and operations of our clients going forward, whereas the agenda itself may well also be influenced by many of ERM’s leading clients. We are positioned uniquely to help clients understand and respond to the changes associated with the sustainability agenda. The United Nations, working with the corporate sector, government and other leaders, is determined to increase the levels of co-operation needed to reach agreement on how, together, we can create a more sustainable future. This is against a backdrop of challenging economic conditions in parts of the world, with low commodity prices and a changing energy landscape.
ERM, along with other leading private sector businesses, is working proactively to contribute practical solutions to address these global challenges while balancing actions associated with the current short-term challenges. The United Nations has adopted Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes the 17 far-reaching Sustainable Development Goals. As a member of the UN Global Compact, the Global Reporting Initiative and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, ERM is playing a key role in the private sector's contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. The focus of these efforts is to help make corporate sustainability more scalable and to turn business into a truly transformative force.
In December 2015, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) will be held in Paris. The United Nations' expectation is that leaders will commit to an approach designed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius through a range of national and regional plans and targets, which will have a direct impact on business now and into the future.
ERM is preparing a range of thought leadership activities as well as practical tools to assist our clients in understanding the implications of the COP21 discussions for their business. In turn, we will develop strategic and tactical responses to managing risks and maximizing opportunities in 2015 and beyond.
Solutions in a changing landscape
We are adapting our client service approach to ensure we can make a greater difference to our clients in terms of how they respond and contribute to what we believe will be a more robust global sustainability agenda in the future.
This includes, for example, how the world's energy demands are changing and how creating solutions to renewable energy development, energy efficiency and storage, as well as reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from conventional fossil fuel power generation, all form part of a more holistic approach to energy.
In addition, we are increasingly adopting a more integrated approach to solving our clients' challenges to create high-value outcomes as they deal with more dynamic and difficult conditions in some sectors and end-markets. This includes helping clients respond to what many of them describe as a "new normal," where their focus is on operational efficiencies and cost reductions – and the really hard questions around what sustainability means in tough, resource-constrained times. We are helping our clients to work through these questions – and find the right answers.
We have increased our focus on and capability to serve clients in the Chemical Sector as companies establish new facilities or repurpose old ones, seek efficiencies in operational performance and respond to new regulatory requirements. This has prompted an expansion of our product stewardship services, which help clients effectively manage the risks across their value chain.
In the past year, we made three key acquisitions to enable us to offer a broader range of services to clients in some key sectors. We welcomed the team from the Natural Resource Group to broaden ERM's capabilities in the energy sector, in both mid-stream oil and gas and in electricity transmission in North America. The strong alignment of our two organizations will ensure we leverage this additional knowledge, talent and expertise for the benefit of our clients.
We also expanded our Safety and Risk consulting business through acquiring Safety Design A.S., a Norwegian consultancy. We also acquired ReachCentrum, a leading company managing the registration of chemicals for REACH, the European Union's Regulation on chemicals and their safe use. We are continuing to look for opportunities to build our capabilities, talent and global footprint as we anticipate and respond to the needs of our clients.
Our focus on delivering sustainable solutions extends to the communities in which we live and work through our employee-led ERM Foundation. We are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Foundation this year. Over the past two decades, we have awarded more than $3 million in grant funding to non-profit organizations and social enterprises, and invested an additional $1.9 million in developing countries through our Low Carbon Enterprise Fund. To complement those funding initiatives, our employees have provided nearly 10,000 hours of pro bono technical support to 200 environmental initiatives around the world.
Responding to stakeholders
Each year, we seek to extend the breadth and depth of our engagement with stakeholders in order to remain responsive to emerging trends. We have again based this report on the G4 Guidelines, our third in alignment with G4, to describe more directly our material issues and our performance and initiatives for each.
Once again this year, I joined members of our Senior Leadership Team to engage in reviews with some of our most significant global clients. This engagement provided important insights into ERM's understanding of the current and future needs of these clients and how we can continue to provide real value by addressing those needs. We also reached out to contractors and suppliers involved in our Contractor Management Program this year to gain feedback into improving our own supply chain.
This report serves as our Communication on Progress, an annual disclosure to stakeholders on progress made in implementing the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
In June 2015, the management of ERM announced that it has partnered with OMERS Private Equity ("OPE"), the private equity investment arm of the OMERS pension plan, to buy out ERM from our former partners Charterhouse Capital Partners ("Charterhouse"). The Alberta Investment Management Corporation ("AIMCo") co-invested in the transaction. The transaction enabled ERM's employee shareholders, the ERM Partners, to re-invest in the business alongside OPE and AIMCo, highlighting their continued commitment to ERM and the confidence they share in the long-term outlook for the company, as well as their excitement in working with our new financial partners.
As indicated above, ERM exists to service our clients and I would like to thank all of our clients for the confidence and trust that they place in us every day. Much of our contribution to making the world more sustainable comes through the work that we do on clients projects and we appreciate the opportunity to do this and create value for our clients.
Equally, our ability to deliver for our clients is based on the talent, creativity and passion of our employees.
On behalf of the Board and management team, I would like to thank them all for their hard work and dedication that helps make the world a better place by meeting the sustainability needs of our clients, and the communities in which we live and work.
John Alexander, Chief Executive Officer
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