Sustainability Report 2016
As we engage with our clients, key industry leaders and thinkers from around the world, we are hearing consistent themes about the sustainability challenges they face. These challenges present both risks and opportunities – with leading businesses taking bold steps to sustain their organizations in the longer term while managing the needs of today.
The challenges include navigating the transition to a lower emissions future while the global demand for energy grows. This requires doing more with less (fewer people, lower volumes of capital and far less time), overcoming natural resource constraints and delivering the required changes in uncertain market conditions. With this backdrop, global leaders have used 2015 to 2016 to build consensus on pathways for the future at several key events.
At the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. ERM, along with many of our clients, identified linkages between the SDGs and our business strategy, and we have mapped our material issues against the relevant SDGs. The ERM Foundation also has aligned its priorities to selected SDGs and is working with other corporate foundations on opportunities for collaboration to make progress towards the SDGs.
Access to sources of energy that are reliable, affordable and lower in emissions is essential for sustainable development. ERM played an active role in the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) in December 2015. COP21 delivered the Paris Agreement that was adopted by every country present and built on a groundswell of commitments and initiatives from business leaders, academia, civil society and nongovernmental organizations.
The challenge facing all of us is to deliver on the commitments made at these global events. We are actively working with clients at a strategic and operational level on how to build resilience in their supply chains and businesses, secure their energy needs and identify opportunities as the economy transitions to a lower emissions future.
Investing in the future
In June 2015, we announced our new financial partners, OMERS Private Equity (OPE) and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), who invested in ERM alongside the more than 500 ERM Partner shareholders. This transaction enabled ERM to continue to focus on delivering quality services to our clients while investing in opportunities for the future. In August 2015, we acquired rePlan Inc., a Toronto-based company that provides social assessment, advisory and management services to natural resource and infrastructure companies and financial institutions around the world. At the end of March 2016, we acquired JSC International Limited (JSC), a leading regulatory affairs consultancy based in the United Kingdom that provides expert, independent advice related to agrochemicals, biocides and general chemical legislation.
In addition to these acquisitions, we have seen robust growth in the key sectors in which we have invested over the past few years, including chemicals, technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) and power. We have also built new approaches and strengthened offerings for our clients, such as sustainable infrastructure development, post-merger integration, sustainable finance, product stewardship and sustainable safety.
To stimulate and sustain a culture of innovation across the company, we established our first-ever Global Innovation Tournament within ERM. All employees were encouraged to collaborate with their colleagues and submit creative and technologically advanced ideas. Over two-thirds of our employees participated in the tournament, with more than 450 entries submitted. The top idea is now receiving the investment needed to bring it to market to meet key client needs around the use of data.
During 2015 we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the ERM Foundation. More than $500,000 in grant funding and 1,800 hours of pro bono professional support were provided during the year to our nonprofit partners. Through the Foundation, ERM employees are collaborating directly with our partner organizations, creating challenging and inspiring opportunities to work in nontraditional environments where they can make a real difference. For example, this year a team of ERM’s Geographic Information System (GIS) and biodiversity experts worked with a small Sierra Leone-based nongovernmental organization to investigate potential links between forest fragmentation and outbreaks of Ebola virus disease in West Africa. This work was carried out in real time as the Ebola crisis unfolded in West Africa, so the research results could be fed into post-Ebola recovery planning in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
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. ERM has been working through an extensive process to understand the broader megatrends impacting society and the economy into the future, how markets are evolving and what our clients’ needs will be in the years ahead. We have engaged with many of our stakeholders on their views, and these have been incorporated into our plans. The result of this exercise is a bold new strategy that sets out how ERM will continue to grow strongly and address sustainability impacts through the work we do with our clients and in the communities where we live and work. We will report on our progress with this over the coming months.
Once again, we have based this report on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Guidelines, our fourth in alignment with G4, to describe more directly our material issues and our performance and initiatives. 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.
As indicated above, ERM exists to service our clients, and I would like to thank all of our clients for the confidence and trust they place in us every day. Much of our contribution to making the world more sustainable comes through the work that we do on client projects.
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 ERM employees around the world. Their hard work and dedication 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
We welcome feedback on this report. Please submit any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.