The field of engineering is one of the oldest professional fields, which means that engineers may be uniquely positioned to help companies develop effective and practical ESG strategies. Arguably, engineering stemmed from the basic human need to survive with the earliest inventions like the wheel, plow, and bow and arrow. As cities and civilizations developed, engineering evolved into a sophisticated discipline. This is evident with the earliest documented civil engineer known as Imhotep. It is believed that Imhotep designed and built the great pyramid of Djoser, also known as the Step Pyramid. Today, engineering is a broad discipline with many subdisciplines dedicated to various fields of study with regard to particular types of technologies or products. While not limited to, engineering can involve structures, machines, and manufacturing processes as well as forecasting behavior in particular environmental conditions. Critical to these developments, there are some engineers who find it essential to also consider the functionality, operational economics, and safety implications as they relate to the environment. For those firms who specifically provide engineering services related to the environment, the increased attention on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) may have subsequently created an opportunity. 

The environmental portion of ESG takes into account the use of natural resources by businesses and the effect their operations have on the environment. Some of the pressure placed on organizations to develop an ESG strategy with clear and impactful goals has to do with the environmental consequences that we are beginning to experience due to climate risk, water scarcity, extreme temperatures, and carbon emissions.  While ESG is often associated as a cost to the organization, some organizations also consider ESG an opportunity for overall better business. For example, according to a report published by McKinsey, it has been found that some consumers are willing to pay more when companies “go green” and some organizations may also have considerable cost reductions as a result of improving manufacturing processes, redesigning equipment, and recycling and reusing waste from production, and supply chain. Furthermore, stakeholders are increasingly holding organizations accountable for their impact on the environment. It is not all that surprising that the environmental component of ESG has quickly become a priority for many organizations. As organizations seek help with their environmental initiatives, engineering firms are in a position to become partners in helping clients take a strategic approach to setting and meeting ESG goals.

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