Executive Perspectives: Contributing to Environmental Sustainability in Mobility
Richard D. Ballot
Rich leads the BGRS Legal team, supporting the company’s global operations in the areas of business development, service delivery, supply chain, litigation and claims, mortgage joint ventures, commercial real estate, transactional guidance, compliance programs, corporate governance matters, intellectual property, and procurement regulations involving the United States and Canadian government accounts. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the legal profession, both as a legal counsel for organizations in the mobility industry and in private practice with an expertise in commercial litigation and franchise law. The guiding principle of Rich’s team is to work seamlessly across the organization to ensure they successfully navigate BGRS and our clients through differing and complex challenges in all jurisdictions where we operate.
Customers, employees, and investors are increasingly asking more of organizations in terms of sustainability goals. BGRS recognizes that environmental sustainability is an important element of business success and a key part of organizations’ broader commitment to corporate social responsibility. Our focus on environmental, social, and corporate governance imperatives (ESG) reflects an understanding that corporate mobility leaders are actively taking part in their organizations’ sustainability agenda and that employees increasingly seek a workplace infused with a larger purpose of contributing to positive change. Beyond what BGRS can accomplish by driving sustainability within our own operations, our ability to creatively partner with our supply chain represents a force multiplier to achieve significant results.
BGRS’s pledge of attaining a net zero or net neutral carbon footprint by 2030 is underpinned by streamlined operations, targeted investments, prudent sourcing, efficient management of energy usage and waste, and channeling the inspiration of our employees.
BGRS’s pledge of attaining a net zero or net neutral carbon footprint by 2030 is underpinned by streamlined operations, targeted investments, prudent sourcing, efficient management of energy usage and waste, and channeling the inspiration of our employees. The urgency for BGRS, and many other companies, to set and achieve ambitious sustainability goals, is due to the unique risk posed by global climate change. The sheer scale of the risk calls for collective resources that can be marshaled by organizations seeking to promote meaningful and measurable environmental improvement.
At BGRS, we focus on several key endeavors. One is the alignment of our business practices with the U.N.’s 17 sustainable development guidelines. Another is targeted innovation with our supply chain by, for example, establishing an industry-first partnership with ecolegIT. This partnership provides us with a solution to offset carbon emissions generated from HHG shipments by funding independently audited forestry programs. We also dramatically reduced BGRS’s brick and mortar footprint, along with the environmental impact of commuting and travel. We maintain an accreditation under ISO 14001 and a performance validation under the EcoVadis’ rating framework.
These programs are not merely the province of decision-making at BGRS’s executive level, but the result of a process that is informed by an active employee involvement. In BGRS’s most recent employee survey, an overwhelming 92% personally supported our sustainability strategy. Harnessing this extraordinary level of employee engagement is the key to a purpose-driven and highly motivated workforce, which represents a powerful assurance that our sustainability goals are met.
BGRS’s consulting practice, Mobility Experience Solutions, guides clients to design mobility programs that positively impact their organizations’ sustainability goals. The core/flex programs, for example, empower our clients and customers with a range of options for shaping their moves. Incorporating the psychology of the “Nudge” theory can incentivize relocating employees into making environmentally prudent choices by providing visibility into the environmental impact of their decisions.
BGRS’s business model affords us the opportunity to engage our global supplier network in demonstrating a commitment to environmental sustainability. We challenge our supply chain network to enact their own target date and strategy for attaining carbon net zero or net neutral in their operations. The suppliers recognize that their commitment is integral to assisting BGRS, and by extension our clients, in achieving our respective sustainability goals. To validate that suppliers have the right policies and programs in place to meet these objectives, we use due diligence and audit process, along with an annual survey, which covers a range of sustainability metrics. This survey is one of BGRS’s tools for the annual sourcing of best practices from our supply chain, contributing to the baseline of sustainability standards that our suppliers will be measured against in their respective industry verticals.
In addition, BGRS and its suppliers currently champion numerous sustainability initiatives. These include Discard and Donate programs to cut down carbon emissions by reducing the volume of HHG shipments, furniture rental in lieu of new furniture purchases, and virtual home finding. By way of these initiatives, BGRS embraces its commitment to environmental sustainability, with tangible steps to “move the needle” on fighting the risk of climate change within a meaningful timeframe.