I recently had the opportunity to host Bridgette McAdoo, the Chief Sustainability Officer of Genesys, on my Climate Confident podcast. Bridgette is a seasoned sustainability professional who has been in the field for over 15 years. During the episode, she shared her insights on the role of sustainability in business and the future of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) reporting.
Bridgette explained how her role as CSO of Genesys came to be. It was a top-down approach from the CEO and Chief Strategy Officer, who wanted the company to be rooted in empathy and sustainability. This is a stark contrast to the typical scenario where a CSO role is created as a result of a crisis or a regulatory requirement. Bridgette shared that the CEO and Chief Strategy Officer’s commitment to sustainability makes her job much easier, and this, in turn, allows the company to focus on its core objective – reducing its carbon footprint.
One of the highlights of the episode was Bridgette’s discussion on the differences between sustainability, ESG, and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). She believes that ESG has gained momentum as it is tied to investor relations and how companies are financially reviewed. On the other hand, CSR is usually associated with community engagement and volunteerism. Bridgette argues that the term sustainability has been diluted and the idea is to have a holistic approach that integrates all the different elements rather than separating them into different teams.
Bridgette agrees that ESG leads to increased employee engagement, lower cost of attracting and retaining customers, and happy investors. Surveys have shown that 70% of employees and consumers are looking for sustainable and responsible companies. ESG has also had a significant impact on finance, as impact investing and ESG investing have tripled in the past few years, making it easier for companies to access capital.
McAdoo speaks about the reporting of sustainability and the difficulty in measuring it compared to traditional financial reporting. She believes that in the next 5-10 years, sustainability reporting will be similar to financial reporting. However, there is currently a lack of standards in ESG reporting which is causing some ambiguity. McAdoo shared that at Genesys, sustainability is supported from the top by CEO Tony Bates and Chief Strategy Officer Peter Graf, as well as from ground level employees through various initiatives, such as sustainability ambassadors and community volunteerism.
Bridgette mentions that Genesys actively benchmarks with other organizations and participates in various coalitions to stay informed about best practices. They also utilize platforms like Ecovadis and CDP and partner with peer companies to survey their supply chains. In the past year and a half, Genesys has moved from a bronze rating to a gold rating from Ecovadis, and improved their CDP score from a D to a B. Bridgette emphasizes that they are actively trying to be a leader in sustainability and to bring everyone within the company and their partners along this journey.
The Climate Confident podcast aims to bring you inspiring stories from sustainability leaders, and this episode was no exception. I highly recommend you listen to the full episode to learn more about Bridgette McAdoo’s journey, her insights on ESG and sustainability reporting, and Genesys’ sustainability initiatives.
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