Today, most companies have committed to improving their environment, social, and governance (ESG) performance, reporting, and ratings to meet growing demands from investors, customers, and policy-makers. As a result, annual ESG reporting, implementation, and policy development are essential for businesses of all sizes and sectors. But, if you're an organization that's newer to ESG and sustainability, where do you start? What are the right first steps in creating an employee and supplier-centric ESG program?

For most organizations, one of the most important steps in integrating ESG throughout your organization's day-to-day decision-making is to a develop smart, comprehensive set of ESG policies and guidelines. This playbook will walk you through some of the most important ESG policies to develop, implement, and communicate at your company.

Keep in mind, depending on your organization's size, location, business model, and value chain, not all of these ESG policies will be relevant to you. Moreover, ESG policy development, implementation, and integration is a phased approach. Some policies will take priority, whereas others may be a better fit for a later stage in your ESG implementation roadmap.

Brightest's List of Essential ESG Policies

Environmental and Sustainability Policies
  1. Environmental Stewardship & Climate Action Policy
  2. Sustainable Sourcing & Procurement Policy
  3. Energy Management Policy
  4. Water Management Policy
  5. Waste Management Policy
  6. Recycling & Composting Policy
  7. Chemical Management Policy
  8. Smart Sustainable Offices & Facilities Policy
  9. Remote Work Policy
  10. Sustainable Commuting & Business Travel Policies
  11. Biodiversity Policy
  12. Animal Welfare Policy
  13. Carbon Offset Policy
  14. Net Zero Policy
Social Sustainability Policies
  1. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Policy
  2. Human Rights Policy
  3. Child Labor, Forced Labor & Human Trafficking in Supply Chain Policy
  4. Employment & Labor Practice Policies
  5. Employee Development Policies
  6. Employee Health, Well-Being & Safety Policies
  7. Mental Health Policy
  8. COVID-19 Policy
  9. Charitable Giving Policy
  10. Pay Equity & Fair Wage Policy
  11. No-Retailiation (Whistleblower) Policy
ESG Governance Policies
  1. ESG Policy
  2. Code of Ethics
  3. Code of Conduct
  4. Business Continuity Management Plan
  5. Anti-Corruption Policy
  6. Risk Management Policy
  7. Consumer & Product Safety Policies
  8. Data Privacy Policy
  9. Cybersecurity Policy
  10. Responsible R&D Policy
  11. Tax Policy
  12. Political Engagement and Contribution(s) Policy
  13. Executive Compensation Policy

Your Next Steps With ESG After Policy Development

Smart ESG policy roll-out takes time, effort, thoughtfulness, and resources. Remember, ESG policy development goes beyond having a checklist or library of documents: it's important to also communicate those policies to employees, suppliers, partners, investors, and other key stakeholders. Reinforce your policies with regular trainings, learning and development programs, and ongoing reinforcement and measurement efforts.

ESG policies evolve over time. Every company's ESG roadmap is different - and ESG truly is a long-term, strategic journey for boards and management teams. Nonetheless, the benefits of strong ESG performance on brand reputation, employee talent, culture, operational efficiency, risk management, and access to capital are not only numerous - many are quantifiable.

ESG Policy Development Tracking

Brightest provides companies with a unified toolkit to launch, administer, track, and improve sustainability and ESG performance

We wish you and your team all the best as you continue ahead with your ESG implementation. If we can be helpful at all (at any step in your journey), please get in touch. A central part of our mission and work here at Brightest is enabling better data-driven decision-making (and actions) to help companies achieve their full ESG potential.

Looking to elevate your ESG performance?

We bring deep domain expertise to ESG and sustainability implementation and measurement, and are always here to move purpose-driven organizations forward

Learn more