When Dow made promise to collect old sneakers in Singapore and recycle them into playgrounds and running tracks, ESG required taking ownership of the entire project, including the contractors executing on it, setting KPIs to meet the objectives and report publicly. Clearly, that did not happen, and Dow seemingly treated it as a CSR project.
Key lessons: (1) An environmental effort not tied to core business operations (such as reducing GHG through great efficiency) needs to be managed with oversight as if it were. (2) KPIs must be attached to such projects, with a single person responsible and public reporting to the benchmarks. (3) If the project does not meet its targets, explain why and what will be modified to increase performance. (4) Reporters, NGOs and governments are on the prowl for high-profile examples of greenwashing to name and shame companies. So don’t do it.
Steve Okun, Glenn Van Zutphen & Neil Humphries, Money FM