Project Management

Straight Talk with PMI: Unlocking ESG Outcomes

15 Jul 2022
Joe Cahill

In this Straight Talk edition on ‘Unlocking ESG Outcomes’, Joe Cahill, Chief Customer Officer at PMI, engages Geneviève Piché, Managing Director, Head of ESG Solutions Group, Wells Fargo Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB).

If you enjoyed the summary of Joe and Geneviève Piché, discussing a range of sustainability issues facing organizations today and advancing actionable best practices for project managers, you can see the full interview in seven parts below.

In this episode, Geneviève shares some context on how the ESG Solutions Group was seeded in Wells Fargo back in 2020, with a confluence of factors acting as the driver for its formation. The group formed to better serve the bank's customers, apprise them of the critical developments within the bank, and communicate the bank's moral and financial imperative. Geneviève also dives into the importance and the impact of the ESG Group on the bank's business.

In this episode, Geneviève delves into the trend of customers increasingly seeking out brands with robust ESG measures. ESG is also a key business imperative in managing risks and opportunities. Geneviève believes that ESG forms the basis for gaining clarity on a wide range of questions. What risks do you face in your company if you are not appropriately managing your environmental policies or processes? Can I improve my business by doing things in the environmental and social space or improving governance? And much more.

Geneviève speaks to the nitty-gritty of crafting a well-defined ESG strategy and an execution roadmap. As she puts it, "The ESG strategy evolves, and as organizations begin to understand the critical components of ESG, it becomes more measurement-driven. Once they reach this phase, they begin to formalize the ESG approach. The roadmap emerges with defined deliverables, aligning with the organization's corporate sustainability goals, employee, and stakeholder needs. Watch to gain more insights on actioning an ESG roadmap.

Geneviève covers a lot of ground regarding managing expectations and the importance of the guiding principles in translating ESG ambitions into actions. The conversation also touches upon the varying degrees of understanding regarding sustainability; each organization has unique requirements and action plans. Citing instances from Wells Fargo, Geneviève says that to make ESG initiatives successful, there must be a campaign-led approach starting from good leadership. The message must percolate top-down through proactive internal and external communications.

Geneviève delves into the people-first approach and the inherent benefits of making ESG a pan-organization exercise. This involves the employees, customers, and a wide range of stakeholders. This approach also translates into communities, which is a super important element of everything that organizations do; we all live in communities, and employers, employees, and customers are inevitably part of those communities. The people-first concept becomes very relevant, brings in the human element, and has a proper resonance with a multi-generational workforce as well. To sum up, ESG is like 'water in a sponge'; it permeates and touches everyone.

The need of the hour is to understand the many facets of ESG and align with the organization's requirements. And project professionals will play a pivotal role in shaping the ESG outcomes of the organization. There is such an excellent role for project managers to play in this space because they often deal with big ideas.

Much of this has to do with new and innovative ideas. However, they might not have all the required skills; hence, involving a wide range of stakeholders within the organization and creating a collaborative environment will help achieve ESG goals. In addition, Geneviève also gives a sneak peek at how ESG will manifest as we move forward.

Joe Cahill Joe Cahill

As Chief Customer Officer (CCO), Joe Cahill is responsible for all PMI’s Global Customer Group. He oversees the Global Customer Engagement Team, the Global Customer Experience Team and PMI’s eight geographic regions. Joe previously held the positions of COO, Interim CEO and SVP of Finance and Administration in his time with PMI.