Small- and medium-sized recycling businesses that are interested in setting up environmental, social and governance plans will soon have a new toolkit to help them.
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) is working on an environmental, social and governance (ESG) toolkit for its members. Natalie Messer Betts, assistant vice president of sustainability at ISRI, said the kit should be ready to roll out around the end of the year.
“We just see a need for a resource that is designed with recycling members in mind and is really practical, especially for smaller businesses,” she said, adding that “we’re just making it really clear and trying to cut through the noise.”
The toolkit, which has been in the development process since late last year, will be an online resource that includes a guidebook with chapters on various topics, such as setting goals, how to develop a strategy and how to get feedback from stakeholders. It will also have downloadable sample policies, sample spreadsheets pre-populated with the data categories companies would need to collect and links to other ESG resources from agencies such as the U.S. EPA.
“We’re trying to make it really step-by-step because sustainability can feel like such a huge topic and it can feel complicated,” Messer Betts said.
The idea for an ESG toolkit came as the framework became more commonplace, Messer Betts said. Big companies are looking at trackable ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are starting to ask their supply chains for data.
“They’re trying to look up in their supply chain, where our members sit,” she said. “Having those data points ready to go so you’re ready to report to those customers will be helpful.”
As recyclers, the ESG framework presents a great opportunity for ISRI’s members to share information on their contributions to sustainability, which is “in the DNA of this industry,” Messer Betts said.
“Sustainability is at the heart of what they do and this is just bringing it into the context of today,” she added.
The toolkit is not designed with any commodity in mind, but rather for companies that do not yet have an ESG plan. It will help put things the companies already do – such as ensure community engagement and worker safety – into the ESG framework.
ISRI plans to start a monthly workshop series in June that will explain ESG and the toolkit, as well as solicit feedback from members before the toolkit goes live.
“We have a general sense of what we want the toolkit to include, but also we want to make sure it’s responsive,” Messer Betts said.
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