This is how you get started working with ESG at your company

22 February 2024

First of all, it’s important to note that we at Danske Fragtmænd have only just begun the journey towards becoming a more sustainable and greener transport company. We still have a long way to go, and we are not experts in the ESG field. Nevertheless, we have gained some experience that we would like to share with you. Below, we have listed our top tips for getting started on transforming your business.

1. Get the management’s and board’s acceptance and commitment

As with any change in a company, it’s crucial that you engage the board and management in the process. They need to understand the importance of the work and the long-term opportunities that the climate action will bring to the company. Only then can you really get started.

2. Start with the low-hanging fruit

Implementing climate action may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with the low-hanging fruit that doesn’t require tremendous effort and investment. At Danske Fragtmænd, we started by replacing the lighting at 13 sites with LEDs and replacing the batteries in our lorries with lithium batteries. Of course, this is not where our largest carbon footprint lies, but for us, it was initially just a matter of getting on with the job and learning as we go.

3. Set up a working group

We have excellent experience setting up a working group with representatives from several departments at the company. Initially working exclusively on the green transition, the group’s focus has widened over the past year to include sustainability and ESG in a broad sense. When putting together the group, choosing colleagues who have shown an interest in sustainability is essential. You are sure to get more done with people who are passionate about the field and want to make a difference.

4. Seek inspiration

Several of the biggest companies in Denmark have been working on sustainability for many years, and they have come a long way. It’s perfectly legal to take inspiration from other companies and learn how they work with ESG in their organisation. You should also look at your competitors, as they will likely face the same challenges as your company.

5. Make your first sustainability report

We produced our first climate accounts in 2022, and while it was a time-consuming process, it was also very educational. In calculating Danske Fragtmænd’s climate impact, we have used two environmental calculators: Danske Fragtmænd’s environmental calculator and the Danish Business Authority’s carbon calculator. We use Danske Fragtmænd’s environmental calculator to calculate the carbon impact of our transport and distribution, as we consider it to be more accurate than the Danish Business Authority’s carbon calculator. The remaining calculations are based on the Danish Business Authority’s carbon calculator, which we have good experience with.

Today, we structure our sustainability report as ESG accounts. In addition to the calculations, we also include the UN's 17 SDGs, which provide a unique opportunity to relate to and contribute positively to economic, social and environmental development. At Danske Fragtmænd, we have chosen to focus on goals no. 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12 and 13, as this is where we can make the biggest difference for a sustainable future

6. Set ESG objectives

Once you have an overview of your company’s environmental, social and managerial matters, you can decide with your management what long-term objectives you want to work towards. You can perhaps structure your goals according to the UN's 17 SDGs, and remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. After all, very few companies can reduce their carbon footprint by 50 % overnight.

7. Communicating green

In marketing your company’s ESG initiatives, you can quickly fall into the trap of making your initiatives look greener than they really are, which is called Greenwashing. As well as being potentially illegal, embellishing the truth can also damage your company’s reputation and credibility. Our approach is very conservative, and we don’t announce anything unless we have the data to back it up. We recommend that you read the Danish Consumer Ombudsman’s Quick Guide to Environmental Marketing, which briefly describes the rules in this area.

If you want to see how we structured our first sustainability report, you are welcome to get inspired here. Otherwise, we just want to wish you all the best with your climate action.