ESG POLICY

Stakeholder-Driven ESG Policy Principles

Introduction

ESGTree was built on the simple principle of being the change we wished to see in the world – by practicing what we preach to our clients, walking the walk, leading by example. As a start-up born during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are uniquely situated to develop business practices and value systems with the health of all stakeholders in mind: our people, our clients and our planet.

Our ESG policy outlines this commitment to create change through our own actions. In support of the shift from shareholder to stakeholder capitalism, ESGTree employed an entirely stakeholder-driven approach to the creation of our policy. In other words, this is a bottom-up rather than a top-down exercise. Employees, customers and suppliers were interviewed in order to incorporate those areas of E, S and G that they felt were most material to ESGTree. These insights were coupled with materiality science, including Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) materiality guidelines on the software industry, to arrive at our final ESG priorities.

We took care to ensure that our interview panel was diverse in terms of race, gender, ethnicity and age. We are grateful to all participants for the candid feedback and recommendations received during this process.

Breakdown of ESG Policy Interviewees by Ethnicity

ESG Policy Requirements

As a global ESG technology start-up, ESGTree plays an important role in the shared effort to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)s outlined by the United Nations in 2015. Our policy, broken down into its ‘E,’ ‘S,’ and ‘G’ elements, guides our approach to adding to this global effort, as well as to our company ethos of leading through action and self-accountability.

Our Commitment to Environment: The ‘E’ in ESG


Clean Cloud: As a technology company, we commit to keeping our data centre servers accountable to public pledges made to minimize emissions. Through regular monitoring of best practices in the field of clean technology, we aim to remain at the forefront of relevant policies pertaining to the improvement of environmental sustainability.

Emissions: ESGTree maintains a perpetual work-from-home policy and adheres to strict travel guidelines to determine when and whether in-person collaboration is essential to our work. As the world emerges from COVID-19, we will revaluate our needs in keeping with the minimization of our carbon footprint.

ESG Reporting: We commit to running annual ESG reports on our performance to evaluate, reassess, benchmark and improve our ESG effectiveness and goals in relation to SDGs and our industry. Moreover, we hope to serve as a blueprint for similar start-ups aspiring to reach their ESG goals.

Our Commitment to People and Society: The ‘S’ in ESG

Diversity and Inclusion: Founded by “migrantpreneurs,” ESGTree is committed to going beyond equitable hiring practices to act as an enabler for people of BIPOC backgrounds to reach their full potential. This policy will be further fostered by a culture of openness and dialogue, where all viewpoints are encouraged, heard and discussed. Furthermore, ESGTree is co-founded by a formidable 'woman in tech' who is committed to ensuring that gender never plays a barrier to opportunity and influence. Finally, we will endeavour to make global connections, especially between the Global North and South, through overseas hiring as well as across continents.

Opportunities for Youth We recognize that new graduates are entering the workforce during unprecedented times due to COVID-19 and therefore face added challenges. We will continue to provide full-time, part-time, contractual, internship and co-op opportunities to new graduates to develop their skills and provide hands-on experience in their early career. We actively promote our young talent in our communications and PR materials and provide recommendations, references or school credit as they move on to new opportunities.

Growth, Leadership, Autonomy and Collaboration: ESGTree is committed to employee happiness and growth. We believe that employee development is essential not only to our functioning but to creating an equitable and empowering work environment. Inspired by a culture of learning, ESGTree is committed to holding regular workshops on leadership, sustainability, workplace equality and similar issues, where both internal and external experts are invited to share their knowledge and experiences.

We are also committed to investing in our people by encouraging and enabling them to attend leadership, personal development and learning-related courses, workshops and events so that they are active participants in their own success. Sustainability-related learning workshops are employee-led to foster a collaborative and democratic environment. At the same time, we believe in providing employees the freedom, flexibility and autonomy to pursue their own projects, ‘fail forward,’ and possess a sense of ownership over their work and contribution to ESGTree.

Wellness and Work-Life Balance: ESGTree recognises the importance of creating a healthy, balanced work experience so employees can thrive in all aspects of their lives, personal and professional. This is especially important to us given that ‘start-up culture’ often requires greater flexibility than other work settings. We will continue to hold knowledge-based sessions, as well as provide benefits, to encourage the management of mental health, stress, burnout, work-life balance and physical fitness to foster our team’s health, happiness and serenity.

Ombudsperson: Traditional HR departments can often be seen to protect management rather than employees. Our Chief Technology Officer also acts as an Ombudsperson for employees to comfortably voice and resolve any concerns they might have.

Our Commitment to Governance: The ‘G’ in ESG

Data Privacy and Security: ESGTree champions legislation in Canada and abroad that upholds and bolsters the right to data privacy. We build privacy protection features into every level of our software to ensure that client data is secure and responsibly stored and handled. We have committed to regular testing of security protocols to ensure our fiduciary duty towards data privacy and security. Our complete privacy policy can be found on our website here

Transparency: Transparency is a core governance value at ESGTree. We encourage employees to feel a shared sense of ownership over the direction and vision of the company. Team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and discussions and strategy implementation over ESGTree’s values, priorities and future are open and collaborative efforts. Information pertaining to our running is shared with employees within the bounds of the law.

Competitive Behaviour: We recognize that the fight for a fairer, sustainable future and economy is a collaborative effort. We also deeply value our customers and believe in their right to make educated decisions about what products and services best suit their needs. Based on these beliefs, ESGTree supports and complies with Canada’s Competition Act, which aims to prevent anti-competitive practices in the marketplace.

Board Oversight: In keeping with our stakeholder-driven approach, ESGTree holds monthly meetings with its Board of Advisors to discuss and gain expert input on all aspects of the business, in addition to its legal role of providing oversight and accountability.

Concluding Note:
"ESGTree is a young company. In April 2021, we turned one year old. As we grow, evolve, and scale, so will our ESG policy. We apprehend this as a living document and a joint vision of the ESGTree team and its stakeholders."


Majid Mirza
CEO (Chief Empathy Officer)
ESGTree