By Roy Snell
Compliance and ESG professionals need to ensure AI authoring policies are written. Such as my new policy… “All AI text that I include in the Soul of ESG Blog will be declared as written by AI and printed in italics.” ChatGPT is an AI tool that can (amongst other things) write articles. AI is like ESG, it is the wild wild west out there, there are problems but I am loving every minute of it. If you want to hear about how AI is going to be an epic disaster, you have to go find another article. I point out a couple key problems but I am focused on the benefits. The last time I experienced the thrill of seeing this kind of overnight increase in ROI was when I powered up the first spreadsheet (VisiCalc) in the early 80’s.
I asked ChatGPT to write a post on ESG terms and it literally defined the terms Environmental, Social and Governance. Ask simple questions, get simple answers. As simple as it was the text may actually still be useful for introductory ESG training. One of the many benefits of ChatGPT is that it will teach people to give clearer instructions. Another benefit is that people will have to learn good fact checking skills because everything ChatGPT produces MUST BE fact checked. I’m telling you… unless you are a hermit you need ChatGPT in your life, regardless of what you are up to.
Unsatisfied, I asked ChatGPT to rewrite the ESG terms post using advanced ESG terms. It was way more useful. It even covered materiality which is challenging to do and it did so brilliantly. It was so similar to my explanation of materiality I wondered if ChatGPT deliberately checks to see if I ever wrote anything related to my question. ChatGPT is currently limited to information produced before 2021 so it’s unlikely that it used my ESG material. I decided to try a tougher question… ”Write a 400 word post on sample ESG projects that you can embark on in your company to improve your governance structure.” I was blown away with what it produced. Then I asked it to “Rewrite it in Shakespear’s style” and that is when I started crying. I have shared the post below, bring Kleenex.
Ironically, as you may have noticed, I spelled Shakespeare incorrectly and it never even bothered to tell me. AI is not as terrifying as Elon Musk has said, in fact it’s nicer to incompetent spellers than you folks are. Just for the record, it terrifies me that Elon is terrified. ChatGPT is amazing but it is not at a thought leadership level, though it will be soon.
Before I told ChatGPT to talk like Shakespeare, what it wrote was very useful. However, if you want to add a little fun to your ESG education try using a post like “Shakespeare on ESG and Governance”. I think it’s funny and useful. I always looked for any way to make training more fun when I was a compliance officer. I would have run straight to my CEO with the post back in the day. I would have had him read it, learn a little, have a laugh and then ask him if he thought we should put it in the next board packet to lighten the ESG conversation and teach or reinforce key ESG concepts. I would have definitely used parts of something like this in employee ESG training. You can use any part of this post that you find helpful. There is no need for attribution but if you have time, please tell me how you used it and the reaction you got. If you have had an experience with ChatGPT please share it in the comments.
You need to get some experience with this tool. You may need to ensure new policies are written. I have only had about an hour of experience and its ROI is already staggering. I would allow employees to use the tool but require they declare its use and fact check it. I have not fact checked the following ChatGPT post nor have I edited it so you can see how it answered the question. This particular post seems pretty accurate to me. The first paragraph is the best part.
Verily, in these modern times, companies dost recognize the significance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors in their daily operations. Many dost seek ways to improve their governance structure and align with ESG principles, as it befits their values and goals. Hence, I shall present to thee, gentle reader, a list of sample ESG projects that a company may embark upon to improve its governance structure and performance.
- A Policy to Guide Thee: The first step to better governance is to create a clear and comprehensive ESG policy. This policy should be a declaration of the company’s commitment to ESG principles and its goals and targets for ESG performance. It should also contain guidelines for the implementation of ESG practices throughout the company, with specific roles and responsibilities, monitoring and reporting processes, and stakeholder engagement.
- Board Oversight Doth Matter: The board of directors playeth a critical role in overseeing the company’s ESG performance, and it is imperative that they be equipped with the skills and resources needed for this task. Companies may enhance board oversight by providing ESG training to its directors, forming an ESG committee, and including ESG performance in the board’s evaluation.
- Reporting: A Vital Process: To ensure transparency and accountability, companies must establish clear and comprehensive ESG reporting processes. This may include regular ESG reports to stakeholders, annual ESG reports, and the inclusion of ESG metrics in financial reporting. Companies should also engage with stakeholders, including investors, customers, and employees, to understand their ESG expectations and preferences.
- Sustainability Management Systems: Companies may improve their ESG performance by implementing sustainability management systems that provide a structured approach to ESG management and reporting. These systems may include tools and processes for setting ESG targets, tracking ESG performance, and engaging with stakeholders on ESG issues.
- Employee Engagement: A Key Ingredient: Employees playeth a critical role in implementing ESG practices and achieving ESG goals, and it is crucial to encourage their engagement and involvement. Companies may encourage employee engagement by providing ESG training and education, creating ESG employee groups, and incorporating ESG considerations into performance evaluations and reward systems.
In conclusion, gentle reader, these sample ESG projects are but a mere glimpse into the multitude of opportunities for companies to improve their governance structure and enhance their ESG performance. By creating an ESG policy, enhancing board oversight, establishing ESG reporting processes, implementing sustainability management systems, and encouraging employee engagement, companies may position themselves for long-term success and create value for all stakeholders.