Connecting Industry Associations and Members on ESG
Make your membership organisation a trusted source for ESG
Don’t be fooled into thinking ESG is something new. OCO Global have been talking about it for the last eighteen months, and there are plenty of examples from before that. What is new is the evolving web of standards and laws that are bringing home the reality that ESG is not going away.
In fact, ESG is more likely to grow in importance as governments, regulators and investors respond to issues related to climate change, social justice, and ethical governance. According to a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum, 86% of respondents believed that ESG factors would become more important for investors. As investors increasingly demand ESG transparency and accountability, companies are under pressure to demonstrate their ESG credentials. This is a seismic shift which makes it even more important for Industry Associations to keep their finger on the pulse.
Online communities can be invaluable in helping members understand and adapt their policies. An added advantage for community owners is that being seen as active on this hot topic may also be a boost to membership.
What is ESG?
ESG standards require companies to address environmental, social, and governance concerns. Environmental is probably the most advanced as people are well aware of the need to conserve energy, reduce waste, and cut carbon emissions, but the S and the G are no less important.
S stands for Social: addressing the relationship between companies and the people/communities they work with. Meanwhile G is governance: the internal processes a company uses to make decisions and govern itself correctly.
How do online communities help?
ESG is a small acronym with big implications. Embedding ESG into operations requires business leaders to think through a myriad of different decisions and resource implications. It covers all the people, processes and technology needed to implement a climate risk strategy or a new governance system, and the monitoring and reporting tools needed to show progress.
Industry associations are perfectly positioned to help their member companies navigate this new landscape. These associations can provide members with access to ESG experts, curated information on ESG issues, and opportunities to engage with peers and stakeholders. By doing so, industry associations can help their members stay ahead of the curve on ESG and ensure that they are well-prepared for the demands of investors and other stakeholders.
A digital platform can transform how associations share information with members in a timely and efficient manner and facilitate engagement between members. That is the power of online communities – the ability of members to share information and collaborate on ESG initiatives. By leveraging the collective knowledge and resources of these communities, members can gain valuable insights into best practice, emerging trends, and innovative solutions.
For example, with OCO CONNECT you can create subgroups that allow members to discuss and collaborate on ESG. Or you can tackle this one letter at a time: creating groups that focus solely on environmental, social, or governance issues.
The community is also a safe space to ask questions or trial innovations, whether that is co-creation among members or feedback on an idea that has been developed by one member.
Grow your membership with ESG support
By taking a lead on ESG, Industry associations not only support their members but also promote their credentials to potential members. This is a great way to raise your profile and access more resources.
CONNECT makes this possible through the sub-groups function and analytics that can make sure your members are getting the best out of the platform. It provides the capacity to track the sentiment of members around ESG. Are the subgroups popular? What are the topics being discussed? What level of understanding or development are members at?
Loaded with these insights, it is easier to develop tools and share best practice that helps members deal with their ESG needs. An additional benefit is that organisations that are proactively helping members deal with ESG are likely to recruit new members: ESG is one of the defining issues of the decade and there is no doubt that companies are looking for trusted sources of support.
World Economic Forum, “Investing in (and for) our Future: The Role of ESG in Reshaping the Investment Landscape” (2020).