Increasing demand of ESG, potential partnerships, and where to begin with ESG projects
Kaizen Institute is known for its KAIZEN™ methodology, use of gemba, and specialization in Continuous Improvement. Will it one day be known for its specialization in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance)? With the growing demand of ESG from clients, Kaizen Institute is learning and applying more ESG, which naturally aligns with KAIZEN™. Alessio Vignato, Senior KAIZEN™ Trainer of Kaizen Institute Italy, says, “We need to consider ESG as a central topic in our promotion and communication.” In this final article of a trilogy, Mr. Vignato shares what he sees in demand for ESG, what Kaizen Institute can do as a potential ESG partner, and advice for those who are questioning where to start with an ESG project.
Have you seen an increase in demand for ESG knowledge or support?
Yes. We had zero and now we have one. Zero to one is not much, but I think it’s because companies do not recognize Kaizen Institute as a partner for ESG. We do not promote ESG or communicate it. We do not do anything specific to ESG. Of course, when we are in a partnership with a company, the personal knowledge of their KAIZEN™ trainer may include ESG. Now, we are only doing something in companies that consider us as partners; after we know each other and talk together. But we don’t have any ESG proposal. But we think it can be done. We could use San Benedetto’s results to show to other companies.
Now in Italy, ESG is only something nice to have, or in many companies they don't know what to do with it. They try to do normal things like reducing CO2 emissions by buying solar panels, but they are not investing in improvement. I'm convinced that in a year or two the demand will increase, and we want to reach that demand. We need to consider ESG as a central topic in our promotion and communication.
“…We need to communicate to different people; communicate to the owner or president of the company, so that we guarantee the KAIZEN™ way. We are professionals and we achieve results.”
What do you think would qualify Kaizen Institute as an ESG partner?
I think we need to communicate ESG to reach that target. To qualify Kaizen Institute as an ESG partner, we need to promote these initiatives. Then, there will be a real demand for those kinds of services, and we will be considered among the possible partners.
I think the economic buyer is different. Our economic buyer usually comes from the operations or that general direction. The two categories of managers or business owners are not specialists in ESG. They usually buy an internal ESG manager to do something about it, but they don't have the knowledge to select an ESG manager. They don't know what to do, because many companies see them as a cost with no real value in ESG. So, we need to communicate to different people; communicate to the owner or president of the company, so that we guarantee the KAIZEN™ way. We are professionals and we achieve results. We need to communicate to ESG managers that have a budget to invest. Both types of communication are missing now in Italy.
What advice can you offer to other KAIZENers who are approached by ESG projects and don’t know where to start?
First, you must catch the ball. If you are provided the opportunity to do something that you know nothing about, take it. I believe that we are professionals that can do it. I fear that some requests that we receive are ignored because we don't perceive it as our business. My first advice is to just take it. We have a global team that can support, so don't worry to take the opportunity.
My second advice is to stay focused on business. There is no need to take a big step to reach sustainability. We need to connect sustainability to the actual business, starting with the customer. It's traditional KAIZEN™; it's what we do in many countries.
And lastly, network. I think the only thing that can improve our deliveries is networking and talking to other people that have faced the same challenge. It's a big value of being part of a global team.
Interested in reading the other articles of this series? Click here to read the first two blog posts of this series:
Look from a new perspective!