Facilitating Effective ESG Growth Through Driver Risk Management

Originally published in Fleet Management Weekly 09/07/22

By Ed Dubens, CEO/Founder of eDriving

Companies don’t operate in a vacuum. They affect the world in myriad ways, and if organizations employ drivers, they undoubtedly have an impact on those around them on the road every day.

Investing in Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) initiatives demonstrates corporate commitment to your employees and the communities in which they operate. One such initiative that can produce measurable ESG impact is implementation of a formal driver safety program. Through such programs, enterprises can help reduce the environmental impact of its fleet activity, while boosting their social impact by reducing the severity and frequency of collisions and helping to ensure that employees driving for work purposes return safely to their loved ones and communities at the end of each day. While many enterprises currently employ a driver safety program, there are several components that must be included to achieve holistic and sustainable results that demonstrate action in relation to ESG objectives.

What elements comprise an ESG-focused driver safety program?

Organizations seeking to focus on driver safety as a critical component of their ESG programs should set out to measure the fundamental elements of a safety program, including but not limited to:

  • Leading and lagging indicators of risk level and associated metrics
  • Rate of collisions per million miles traveled (CPPM)
  • A fleet’s overall risk profile and targeted driver risk profiles
  • Evidence of consistent application of a fleet safety policy
  • Continuous monitoring of motor vehicle records
  • Driver training and coaching that is both proactive and reactive

So, what challenges should an organization expect along their ESG journeys?

The Global Corporate Sustainability Survey 2022, performed by L.E.K. Consulting and Longitude, surveyed 400 C-Suite executives across the United States, Europe, and Asia and found a large gap between organizational ambitions and the capacity to execute on them.

Some of the most common obstacles that were shared unilaterally included:

  • Leadership disagreements on how to prioritize ESG goals over short-term financial and business needs
  • Lack of the required resources or methods to construct ESG initiatives
  • Internal cultures that aren’t in sync with the company’s strategy, product lines, and distribution networks

Aligning incentives and developing knowledge and language of common safety and sustainability systems at the director level that promote ESG are similarly prevalent obstacles.

How can enterprises navigate these challenges and where should they begin?

Designing and implementing effective ESG-focused driver safety programs will require internal consensus on the prioritization of driver safety relative to other ESG initiatives. It can be a challenge to analyze the monetary and non-monetary returns of  a driver safety program. Non-financial advantages should be quantified, however, so that strategic decisions may be made for maximum ESG engagement.

Enterprises must take the necessary steps to address these challenges, improve ESG returns, and enhance driver safety while reducing risk. These include:

  • Establishing a common language for developing a culture of safety and sustainability
  • Clearly communicating the strategic choices needed to execute
  • Funding educational programs and coaching support
  • Involving the entire leadership team in analyzing the financial and non-financial strategic options involved in achieving ESG goals
  • Extending safe driving messaging and initiatives beyond work hours and beyond just those driving professionally for work purposes, reinforcing its importance in drivers’ personal lives to help ingrain safe driving behaviors and reinforce a crash-free culture Setting measurable goals and related KPIs with appropriate reporting and tracking

Impactful and sustained ESG results are a direct benefit for companies that take these next steps in driver safety. By implementing a multi-faceted combination of technology, real-time data, driver coaching, micro eLearning, gamification, and additional driver engagement strategies, more organizations are moving from being proactive to predictive, and therefore, better positioned to prevent collisions and incidents.

For over 25 years, this symbiotic relationship between driver safety, technology, and ESG responsibility has been at the forefront of our methodology at eDriving. When we help our clients develop and sustain their crash-free cultures® to help drivers return home safely at the end of each workday, we help them to foster ESG growth that provides benefits at multiple levels: in-house by protecting your teams and assets; locally, by protecting family, friends, and other community road users; and globally, by reducing emissions, injuries, and fatalities.

By redefining objectives, using data to track performance, and empowering project leaders to become game changers, enterprises can transform intentions into real, impactful action and can deliver life-changing results.