Today’s citizens are increasingly aware of how their actions and the actions of the organizations they work with affect the world around them, a trend that has accelerated since the pandemic. They also want to know that their governments are operating ethically and sustainably.
In response to changing citizen demands, government leaders are increasingly prioritizing environment, society, and governance (ESG). In fact, 70% of public sector organizations they are already making progress on their sustainability journeys, with 61% indicating that sustainability is the top priority in the next 5 years.
From committing to human rights and environmental sustainability to lowering operating costs through increased energy efficiency and establishing privacy and data protection laws, governments around the world are taking steps to meet their ESG goals. Here are three ways the government should consider ESG to meet citizen expectations.
1. Supervision of industries in their countries
Many government agencies have mandates to provide regulatory oversight of industries within their country. An example is the US Environmental Protection Agency or Environment and Climate Change Canadawhich are mandated to enforce environmental regulations.
These government agencies are tasked with overseeing industries in their countries that have climate targets to meet. For example, under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP), the Canadian government collects greenhouse gas emissions from all facilities that produce more than 10,000 tons of emissions per year.
Programs like the GHGRP have heavy reporting requirements and require governments to manage significant amounts of data. Digitization, automated collection tools, artificial intelligence, and analytics can enable public sector agencies to manage, measure, track, and monitor this data, simplifying the ESG oversight process.
2. Evaluating your suppliers
The public sector is a huge industry, and governments around the world interact with a large number of contractors and suppliers to accomplish their mission. Governments must ensure that the suppliers they work with operate ethically and are environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.
Increasingly, public sector agencies are asking government contractors to prove that they are low emission suppliers. For example, the UK government published a Procurement Policy Notice by 2021 which requires all UK central government contractors to commit to a net zero footprint by 2050. By assessing their suppliers, governments can ensure that the companies they work with help contribute to government ESG targets , rather than contributing to additional emissions.
Finding, selecting, and onboarding vendors with ethical business practices is a time-consuming process. Technology can be critical to establishing and maintaining an ethical supply chain in the public sector. A sustainable supply chain solution Digitally connect and manage all supply chain data in real time with clear visibility into partner performance, practices and certifications. This allows organizations to ensure that their suppliers adhere to ethical business practices.
3. Lead by example
In addition to monitoring industries and evaluating suppliers, governments want to lead by example by reducing their own GHG emissions and meeting the ESG targets of agencies.
Government agencies have a number of assets they need to consider when it comes to reducing emissions, including government-owned and leased facilities, vehicle fleets, and data centers. They also have a significant number of employees, many of whom are able to commute to the office every day. Additionally, many government organizations continue to rely on paper in their daily business activities, which contributes to environmental damage.
To reduce emissions, governments must first be able to track and measure output, such as how much utilities their buildings use or how much energy their data centers use. The technology can not only track and measure output, but can also help public sector agencies and departments identify a baseline to measure progress, demonstrating progress towards overall ESG goals.
Data centers consume significant amounts of energy. TO survey 2022 shows that 60% of government respondents believe they will stop owning data centers in the next five years. By moving to the cloud, governments can reduce the number of data centers they own and reduce emissions.
Another way that governments can reduce environmental damage is through the digitization of paper processes and forms, especially those that are citizen-oriented. For example, customers of OpenText Trading Grid™ digitizes more than 33 billion transactions per year. This paper reduction saves the equivalent of 6.5 million trees and greenhouse gas emissions of more than 922,000 tons of CO2e, according to calculations by the Environmental Paper Network’s Paper Calculator.
A good example of how governments lead by example is President Biden’s Federal Sustainability Plan. The plan calls for federal agencies to transition to all-electric by procuring 100 percent light-duty ZEVs annually by 2027 and procuring medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs 100 percent annually by 2035. Another Administration goal calls for a portfolio of buildings with net zero emissions by 2045.
Meet your ESG goals with OpenText
OpenText™ has several solutions that support public sector ESG goals. Our Content Service Solutions Help with paperless government, ensure the latest security protocols are disseminated to remote workers, support ESG reporting, and securely archive and meet government compliance standards. cloud for government can reduce the carbon footprint of data centers. Our Enterprise Network Solutions support ethical supply chain visibility and can help identify suppliers that meet certain ESG criteria. open text AI and analytics The platforms help in data management and decision making.
Interested in learning more? Calculate how you can potentially reduce your environmental impact with digitization.
Learn more about how OpenText can help the public sector meet its ESG goals.