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As you start out on your ESG journey, there may be times when an action plan is needed to implement the necessary changes within your company. Specifically, it is recommended that an action plan be developed with you to identify requirements of funding or investments, expectations, or compliance with laws and other regulations.

Purpose of the ESG Action Plan
The ESG action plan contains the same components as other actions plans used in your company. You should detail specific and measurable improvements to be made to align with your ESG strategy. The plan keeps you on track, but it also helps to identify opportunities to add value to your processes. These opportunities can be documented in a separate section of the master action plan or in a separate action plan. Here are some other tips for how to build an ESG action plan.

Descriptions of the Actions to Be Taken
When you are developing the steps for your ESG action plan, steps need to be concise yet not too detailed. You should avoid action steps that can be interpreted in many ways. Instead, write the steps so that they can easily be interpreted and digested by employees at all levels. Take time, and consult with staff as you write the steps. It is also advisable to include various departments.

Set Priorities and Timelines
You will likely have numerous action steps in your ESG plan. Employees shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the plan but should be motivated to make the necessary improvements. Before you release the plan for implementation, set priorities, make sure that you don’t use conflicting priorities that will ultimately cause conflicts or reduce inefficiency—work from the point of logic rather than urgency.

SMART Measurements
You’ll need a way to determine how well your action plan is working to make the necessary improvements. SMART performance measures are excellent tools for this endeavor. SMART measures are defined as:

  • Specific: Goals should be specific enough to support effective planning strategies
  • Measurable: Determine the data that will be collected and used to monitor progress
  • Attainable: Steps in the ESG action plan should be attainable within the defined timelines
  • Relevant: Align the action plan with the long-term objectives and values of your company
  • Time-based: Set end dates or due dates for each step in the plan