The Environment+Energy Leader honoree program is an annual list that recognizes the environment and energy “doers” who break trail in creating new solutions, programs, platforms, best practices and products to help their companies – or other companies – achieve greater success in commercial and industrial environment and energy management. Meet the Honorees… is an ongoing series that will feature one E+E Honoree from 2022 each week. See the complete list of 2022 Honorees here.
Meet Nancy Mancilla, founder and CEO of ISOS Group, a sustainability services agency that has been helping drive value creation for some of the world’s most innovative brands for more than a decade. “At the time of the company’s founding, less than 10% of the S&P500 produced sustainability/ESG reports,” says Nancy. ISOS Group’s portfolio of certified disclosure-focused trainings delivered on behalf of organizations such as GRI and CDP have “empowered more than 3,000 students and sustainability professionals from some of the world’s leading brands and helped grow the knowledge-base of many in-house corporate sustainability officers,” she adds.
Please tell us your job responsibilities and day-to-day activities.
Nancy Mancilla: As CEO, I oversee a small but mighty team of sustainability consultants who help facilitate our training, reporting, strategy, and assurance work. I work closely with my fellow managing directors, Brian Noveck and Jennifer Pontzer. My day-to-day activities often consist of:
- Managing relationships with our Fortune 500 and private enterprise clients, industry associations, sustainability focused MBA programs, and federal agencies;
- Coordinating client project development, policy formulation, and awareness campaigns;
- Increasing our firm’s visibility and translating sustainability methodology through various public channels;
- Developing learning programs and materials;
- Conceptualizing projects and coordinating relationships;
- Identifying opportunities in internal sustainable development.
Can you tell us about some of your clients’ biggest environmental challenges, and how you are helping them address those challenges?
NM: ISOS Group works with several clients in the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry. A prime example would be Realty Income, an S&P 500 company dedicated to providing stockholders with dependable monthly income through its portfolio of 7,000 real estate properties owned under long-term lease agreements with commercial clients. As one of the largest triple net lease companies in the US, there was a tremendous challenge in pulling utility data to measure Realty Income’s environmental footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. The program was slow to start – but once the team started having conversations with some of their largest tenants (such as Walgreens, FedEx, and CVS), who already had their own sustainability programs in place, the data collection process began to pick up momentum.
This all fed into their strategy of being more than a traditional REIT and achieving market leadership in their sector. While this initiative was largely led internally, our team played a key role in information gathering and facilitating decision-making to enable disclosure.
What was a successful project or implementation you worked on at your company that you can share?
NM: As a renewable energy company, Pattern Energy, another long-term client, had embedded sustainability into the core of its business model from the start. The company, however, had not fully assessed its internal sustainability management practices and performance throughout its operations. It also recognized the need to improve communication in those areas, beyond the positive social and environmental impacts of clean energy production.
ISOS Group was contracted to help Pattern Energy formalize, improve, and communicate its ESG efforts and performance. The engagement started with an assessment of non-financial disclosure readiness to inform sustainability strategy development and identify needed foundational elements. ISOS facilitated the execution of a detailed value chain description, an internal stakeholder engagement process and a materiality assessment to focus efforts.
Since working with ISOS Group, the company has built a solid sustainability management foundation, including:
- Clarification and expansion its approach to sustainability;
- Activation of a cross-functional sustainability advisory committee to oversee strategic sustainability efforts;
- Ongoing reporting efforts via GRI and GRESB;
- Deployment of an environmental data management and reporting system;
- Development and execution of an ESG communication and reporting strategy.
As a result, Pattern Energy has enhanced engagement with investors and improved external ESG scores.
What challenges will the industry face in the next few years, and what technologies or organizational changes will help overcome them?
NM: I could go on and on about the challenges and opportunities I see on the horizon – but I’ll keep this brief. Our industry will face enormous challenges in terms of existing technological solutions to transition to a renewable energy economy. New technologies will need to be scaled quickly to see a remarkable shift by 2030.
On the human capital side, companies will need to invest in hiring or training existing staff on ESG topics to ensure there’s enough talent with technical expertise to lead in this transition. This will also help in addressing increased demand and consumer preference for companies with strong social and environmental sustainability programs. Collectively, we’ll also need to consider how to address burnout within ESG.
Combatting climate change is a race against time and slow-fought wins never feel like enough. Keeping our sustainability champions energized and engaged is also another important component.
Tell us about a favorite hobby, passion or book you’ve read recently that has had an impact on you and your work.
NM: Being a mother has had a profound impact on how I navigate the world and my approach to leadership. I love seeing what gets my son excited. Once, after listening in on one of my calls, he said “Mom, you should find a way to teach kids about what you do but make it fun!” I think that’s a great idea.
Our children are the future and have much more at stake with the climate crisis than any other generation before them. As the saying goes: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Ultimately, the desire to have a child is what led me to sustainability – I want to leave a better world for him. That’s my passion project!
Editor’s note: nominations are now open for this year’s E+E Honorees. Nominate a colleague — or yourself — for the 2022 E+E Honorees today.