Sustainability Report 2016

Contributing to society

Thought leadership

Throughout FY16, ERM played an active role in thought leadership on international, national and local sustainability platforms. From managing nontechnical risks to safeguarding human rights, we shared technical insights and best practices on a range of subject matters that will help organizations respond to the world's sustainability challenges now and in the future.

During the year, we continued to apply a strategic approach to our thought leadership activities to maximize the impact of our efforts on issues facing our clients across the globe. We are active as a founding member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a signatory to the UN Global Compact and a GOLD Community Member (formerly Organizational Stakeholder) of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

We prioritize our thought leadership efforts on the most significant sustainability risks that threaten our planet, where we believe our technical and professional skills, along with our solutions focused mindset, can have the greatest impact. We are helping governments, businesses, industry bodies and other leading organizations to develop the processes, approaches and practices needed to address these complex issues.

Contributing to the sustainability agenda

Our people are passionate about learning and recognize that engagement and collaboration with other professionals and thought leaders are fundamental to sustainable development. We motivate our people to share and develop their knowledge through publication of thought leadership papers, attending conferences and taking an active role in professional associations.

We participate in global conferences that align with the sustainability challenges faced by our clients, particularly in key sectors such as oil and gas, mining, power and chemicals. In FY16, we participated in a variety of industry forums, including CERAWeek, African Mining Indaba, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention (PDAC), the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), PowerGen Asia, and the US Electric Utilities Environmental Conference.

Thanks to their knowledge of emerging risks and opportunities, our Technical Directors, Technical Fellows, Partners and consultants are particularly well placed to make a valuable contribution to a range of sustainability topics discussed in key platforms and networks. These technical leaders are also critical to the continued success of ERM, providing expert advice and solutions to the assignments we complete for our clients.

Our consultants delivered hundreds of presentations at conferences around the world, sharing the lessons learned from more than 20,000 projects annually and our observations and insights into the sustainability challenges facing different industries. In FY16, we continued to encourage employees to participate in technical and professional associations that align with our sustainability strategy.


ERM joined WBCSD as a founding member in 1995, and active involvement in the organization was once again one of our sustainability targets for FY16. Key initiatives in which ERM has been involved in the past year include involvement in the Board of the Climate and Energy Cluster Group, which lead inputs into the UN Climate Change conference (COP21); and development of the natural and social capital protocols; working groups that produced reports on nonfinancial assurance of corporate sustainability reports and climate resilience in the global supply chain business solution. We were also involved in co-leading the new education business solution (based on ERM’s Sustainability in Action course), the Reporting Exchange working group and providing technical inputs to the social product sustainability initiative.

Deon Wessels, Principal Consultant in Cape Town, South Africa, is participating in WBCSD’s Leadership Program. The program aims to provide current and future business leaders with an in-depth understanding of sustainability challenges and opportunities that will feed into their strategic decision-making. It is designed to help leaders navigate the often complex interdisciplinary topics and concepts that will influence their futures. ERM believes involvement in the Leadership Program is important in developing our talented leaders through gaining skills, experience and knowledge while sharing their own sustainability perspectives with other professionals.

We have committed to the WBCSD WASH (safe water, sanitation and health) pledge, and affirmed our commitment to look at the practical actions we can take to ensure operations and sites within our control have access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation.

We are also involved in WBCSD regional networks in Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.


We continue to work with GRI around its G4 Guidelines in our role as a GOLD Community member (formerly Organizational Stakeholder). An ERM Technical Director served on the Global Standards Reporting Board in FY16, and ERM practitioners have presented sessions on GRI reporting and assurance at numerous conferences and webinars.

In October 2015, ERM published survey results on the value of the sustainability reporting process and the GRI G4 guidelines and held a series of webinars to share insights on trends in corporate reporting.

As a GRI-certified training partner in the United States, ERM offers public and private courses designed for individuals and organizations interested in gaining a deeper understanding of GRI, sustainability strategies and reporting. Our courses are led by practitioners who are experts on the GRI framework and guidelines, and who specialize in sustainability reporting and sustainability program development and implementation. In addition, ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM CVS) undertook assurance on GRI’s own 2015 G4 Sustainability Report, the first time GRI has undergone formal external assurance.