Carol Singer Neuvelt
I’m writing this post on the heels of NAEM’s annual conference – the EHS Management Forum, where 450+ EHS professionals just met for three days to discuss the challenges and priorities facing their profession. The following are the themes and issues that I heard, and I’d like to get YOUR PERSPECTIVE as to whether these are the relevant concerns of today.
Sustainability is finally a key business strategy-not just an “add on.” The focus on energy management as a cost controller, the company’s overall carbon footprint, and the growing importance of supplier relationships and their impact on emissions management are now influencing corporate strategies.
The importance of transparency and corporate reporting on EHS practices continues to increase. Customer satisfaction and brand management with regards to sustainability have gotten the attention of the “C Suite.”
Companies are transitioning away from reactive relationships with NGOs to proactive stakeholder engagement. The challenges of sustainability require new understandings and relationships between EHS/Sustainability managers with all stakeholder groups–internal and external to the company.
EHS Professionals will not survive as technical experts. EHS managers will increasingly be called to play a role in evaluating and encouraging adoption of new technologies and products. Leadership and communications skills will take on greater importance as employers consider who to employ and who to promote.
The profession of EHS management continues to evolve but, I believe, it will be more critical in the coming years as a result of the need to evaluate the risks & efficacies of emerging technologies, changing workplace demographics, and the growing recognition among top corporate leadership that the world, is as Tom Friedman has indicated, becoming increasingly hot, flat and crowded.