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From talk to action: Practical steps for your ESG journey 

Greg Bentham
25 Apr 2024

Climate Week’s panel discussion on sustainability, facilitated by Capgemini and ServiceNow last fall in New York City, focused on the regulatory, social, ethical, and business factors creating the imperative for organizations to act on environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices.

Coming out of that discussion, I wrote about investing in sustainability and the need for enterprise-wide and tech-based planning. This planning unlocks data and its insights that are absolute in the development of long-term strategies and measurable goals that mitigate climate change and support overall ESG actions.  

Now that we’ve established the context and the critical need for organizations to act on ESG practices, I want to turn to the practical steps organizations can take to move forward on their ESG journeys.  

Four stages of ESG maturity 

Of course, organizations begin their journeys at different levels of ESG maturity. At Climate Week, ServiceNow’s Senior Advisory Solution Architect, Risk Practice, Geeta Jhamb, identified the four stages of ESG maturity into which most organizations typically fall: 

  • Ad hoc: Conducting some simple sustainability initiatives but in an unstructured way without reporting mechanisms. 
  • Disclosure-driven: Reacting to the regulatory requirements driving the most immediate pressure, the most common stage.  
  • Governed: Tracking projects against compliance benchmarks and communicating to the workforce within a formal, budgeted program. 
  • Integrated: Incorporating ESG into their culture, values, and the business decisions that flow from them; this is the most mature stage.  

To move toward integration, sustainability must be a higher, board-level priority. While ESG is frequently the responsibility of a designated team, its success depends on demonstrating its relevance and importance across the organization, including to those who own the data that drives the program.  

Pillars of the ESG journey 

Capgemini and ServiceNow collaborate with one another and with mutual clients to help drive understanding of ESG’s criticality to their entire organizations. Our process encompasses these three phases:  

  • Measure: We begin with both qualitative and quantitative assessments, encouraging our clients to conduct an honest self-assessment by asking themselves questions, such as, “Where are we as a company? What is our true mission?”  
  • Plan: From this measurement, we ask our clients to think about what they want to achieve. As Geeta Jhamb noted in our discussion, they may want to go big, aim high or fix business processes that are broken to make their ESG programs more succinct and more consumable for their end users. We let our clients know that proper resourcing, whatever their plan, is essential to achieving objectives that make sense from both ESG and business perspectives.  
  • Act: We know that our clients can only achieve their objectives if everyone is on board. To motivate, they can rely on a push strategy, externally imposed with key performance indicators (KPIs) and service level agreements (SLAs), to which service providers, such as Capgemini, must adhere. Or they can employ a pull strategy where motivation is intrinsic with people performing because they want to, not just because they have to. We’ve experienced that a combination of push and pull motivational strategies is the most powerful. 

So that’s the joint mindset our Capgemini and ServiceNow people bring with them when they join with a client organization as part of a project team. Yes, they have KPIs and SLAs to meet, but even more importantly, they have an inherent respect for and commitment to sustainability because of their training. These twin drivers foster a set of behaviors that connect with and spread to employees of the client organization. In short, what starts as an investment for the service provider can become a widespread and innate commitment to sustainability. 

Making it work 

If success in sustainability means achieving measurable targets, it also means you need a data strategy, which is why IT and ESG teams need to be empowered to work together. We believe this data maturity level underpins the business that companies must consider as they take the ESG journey.   

In our New York talk, Geeta made the point that progress depends on technology and on platforms to securely integrate data from other sources and create cross-functional workflows so that data owners can themselves provide input for robust audibility. Comprehensive technology platforms could be a game-changer in ESG. One example she noted: harmonizing frameworks across the organization would normalize working methods across teams, making it easier to meet regulatory requirements.  

Maria Hart asked the panel if we thought there is any intersection between ESG success and business success. Most panel participants agreed not only about the intersection of ESG and business success. Increasingly, we see them as interdependent. Leveraging data across the enterprise ecosystem contributes as much to net zero as it does to profitability. 

Working together for a sustainable future 

Teamwork is key across the board: not just across enterprise functions, but partner ecosystems and even entire industries as well. At Capgemini, collaboration is enabling us to meet our commitment to help clients save 10 million tons of CO₂ and to reach net zero by 2040. 

Here’s an example I gave during our discussion. Our work with an energy client included a move to cloud that saved hundreds of tons of CO₂ per year. Invigorated by this success, we worked together to find other opportunities, including substantial CO₂ savings in streamlining procurement processes. By working in partnership to build a workable roadmap and making best use of IT, we are now collectively committed to saving one million tons of CO₂. That’s 10% of our global commitment from just one client relationship and its extended ecosystem. 

Such results exemplify the power of collaboration in achieving large-scale sustainability goals. The challenge of sustainability is too great for any of us to tackle alone. It’s a team sport. Only by working together can we help clients get the futures they want. 

Join us in creating a sustainable future for all 

Achieving ESG goals requires a collaborative effort. By working together across departments, partners, and industries, organizations can leverage data and technology to create a more sustainable future. 

Ready to unlock your organization’s ESG potential? Explore how our ServiceNow partnership can help you develop a winning ESG program.  

Capgemini at ServiceNow Knowledge 2024

Earmarked as the most intelligent Knowledge yet, ServiceNow’s flagship event, Knowledge 2024 will bring together 15,000 brilliant minds from across the globe in the heart of Las Vegas. There you’ll discover new ways to drive digital transformation, unlock new levels of efficiency and innovation by putting AI to work for your people.

Productivity, meet experience. As a ServiceNow partner and a Platinum sponsor, we’ll be bringing to you experiences, demos and sessions to help you explore how to drive organizational success through seamless, people-centric approaches.

Visit us at booth 5208 to reimagine your employee journey.


Greg Bentham

Expert in Enterprise Architecture, IT Transformation