ESG Article

As we approach Earth Day 2022 and celebrate Earth Week here at Parsons, concluding with the release of our 2022 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report, it is an appropriate time to evaluate the state of our ESG program. So, what does ESG mean today and going forward?

What Is ESG At Parsons?

Our ESG journey started with the formal launch of Cultivating A Responsible Enterprise (CARE) in 2021 along with the goal of reducing emissions by 20% from a 2019 baseline by 2025 and enhancing both gender and racial/ethnic diversity across the organization. The company has shown a commitment to ESG by linking 10 percent of overall target bonus opportunity to non-financial, strategic qualitative goals – affecting the compensation of our senior leadership team.

Is it ESG or sustainability? ESG has its origins in the financial sector to bucket non-financial data and understand the associated risks. ESG is generally considered to be focused on reporting, disclosures, and investor relations. When most people think of sustainability, they think of projects and focus on the E, but it encompasses the E, S, and G.

The newly formed ESG group focuses on sustainability, integrity, and diversity not only as part of our core values but as central to our mission of delivering innovative infrastructure, defense, and security solutions that enables a sustainable, safer, smarter, and connected world.

On Friday, April 22, we will release our 2022 ESG Report and additional disclosures referencing the GRI standards on our ESG website. This reporting represents the company’s continued efforts to improve transparency of ESG data and focus on data material to all our stakeholders. Through accountable metrics, our report will highlight the continuation of our focused strategy to bring about a 20% reduction of GHG emissions by 2025 while fostering gender and racial/ethnic diversity across our workforce. Throughout 2022, we will be adding further disclosures as we highlight how our people, processes, technologies, and projects demonstrate our role as a global leader in ESG.

Our Sustainable Project Focus

We are positioned to provide added value to projects through project-driven sustainability assignments. One example of our commitment to ESG is the company’s 2021 recognition for excellence on projects including Gordie Howe International Bridge and New York City’s RFK Bridge, where our team received the ACEC New York Diamond Award as part of the 2021 Engineering Excellence awards. As lead designer on the design-build team, this project contributed to decreased congestion, reduced noise pollution, and elimination of CO2e. Our work on the Gordie Howe International Bridge earned our team the prestigious Envision Platinum Award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure for excellence in sustainable infrastructure. ISI’s worldwide mission focuses on the design and construction of infrastructure that is sustainable, resilient, and equitable.

We have a story to tell about our impact on the world and the communities we live and work in through our own footprint but more importantly the projects we deliver for clients – such as Gordie Howe and RFK Bridge. In addition to the sustainability aspect of projects, we are focused on the supply chain and how our procurement practices contribute to our ESG strategy. By enhancing our vendor-input process, we can screen potential suppliers for adherence to various environmental criteria which aligns with our ESG business practices.

What Is The Future Of ESG At Parsons?

Leadership starts at the top – but it goes to the bottom. It is important that we empower employees to act within and according to our core values. It’s incumbent on leadership to make sure our entire Parsons community knows that they can effect change and impact their communities in positive ways through the decisions they make every day.

The Sustainability team as a part of the ESG group will continue to focus on project execution in conjunction with business development. Our business development teams are uniquely positioned to effect ESG because they are the ones talking directly to our partners to help them achieve their goals. It’s imperative that we understand their ESG priorities and help deliver the positive impacts they seek.

Looking into the future we must deliver an ESG strategy to meet the changing needs of all our stakeholders. Investors continue to pressure companies to increase ESG transparency. If we fail to tell our own story through our disclosures and communications, then others will tell it for us. We must also look at internal reporting needs and deliver material metrics to leadership to drive informed decisions. As the regulatory environment continues to evolve, we will put in place controls to ensure the quality of all disclosures.

We are redefining the future of ESG by renewing our commitment to responsible economic, sociocultural, and environmental practices. We have the right leadership to set accountability standards and strategy to grow ESG and push the limits what we can achieve.

Read our 2022 ESG report here.

About The Author

Mark Van Andel, PE, MBA has more than 20 years of experience in critical infrastructure including roles increasingly focused on delivering ESG solutions. He is experienced in ESG reporting and governance as well as financial planning and analysis. Mark currently serves as Vice President for ESG at Parsons Corporation.

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