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How to get started?

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ESG becomes increasingly important and many companies wonder how and where to start. So what does it take to start with ESG? We’ve broken down the initial legwork of ESG into five simple steps.

  1. 🕵🏻‍♀️ Define an ESG Taskforce
  2. As ESG is linked many business processes and functions, it is essential to form a dedicated, cross-functional “ESG Taskforce” which drives the topic forward. We recommend that at least one founder is part of the team to ensure management buy-in. Regular meetings will help to hold individuals accountable and ensure progress in the long term.

  3. 💡 Understand the Status Quo
  4. Firstly, it is essential to understand the status quo. Hence, identify what measures are currently already in place. This will enable you to get a good overview of the current situation. For some guidance on potential questions, you can find the ESG questionnaire we use during our DD below

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    ESG Questionnaire for Status Quo assessment

    Environment

    • Do you track your carbon footprint? If yes, could you please provide the results of your latest report? What is your biggest source of emission?
    • Do you have any initiatives in place to improve environmental performance (relating to reduction and offsetting of emissions caused through commuting, offices, operations, supply chain and product)? Do you have an environmental policy? (relating to, office, product, operations/ supply chain etc)
    • In case of a hardware company: Do you have a packaging and waste management policy in place?
    • What are the top three waste materials that you produce (if any)? (hazardous waste)

    Social

    • Do you have a HR policy ensuring anti-discrimination, diversity and equal opportunities?
    • What employee benefits and training options do you offer?
    • Do you monitor happiness, satisfaction and engagement of your team? If yes, could you please provide the latest satisfaction report / NPS score?
    • # of female employees, # of male employees, # of different ethnicities represented in the company?
    • Do you have a policy in place to choose, monitor and improve your supply chain (e.g. supplier code of conduct)?
    • Which customer feedback mechanisms do you have in place?
    • Do you have a data privacy policy in place? (e.g. dedicated data protection officer, employee training)

    Governance

    • Do you have a mission and vision statement?
    • Could you please share the organigram & board structure of your company?
    • Do you have a defined decision-making process in place (e.g. stop mechanism, who is involved in which decisions etc.)?

    For help on (3) and (4), please also talk to your investor.

  5. 🎯 Set Improvement Goals
  6. Based on the Status Quo analysis, try to find areas of improvement. We recommend you to set 2-3 goals you want to achieve within a year and 1-2 goals that you want to achieve within a 5-year timeframe (see here for some

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    Template for goal setting:

    ESG @ Company.xlsx47.4KB
  7. 🔎 Tracking of Goals
  8. To see the progress you are making, we highly recommend you to include your ESG goals into your company-wide OKRs. This will help you to get an overview on where you stand and also holds people accountable.