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 features Honorees throughout 2022. See the complete list of 2022 Honorees here.
Meet Harry Etra, CEO of HXE Partners. Harry is responsible for leading and developing a team of environmental, social and governance (ESG) professionals focused on delivering best-in-class ESG advisory services to clients across sectors. “I focus my time on company-wide strategy, client service, professional development of our team and expanding the impact of HXE Partners,” he says.
Tell us about your biggest environmental challenge and how you are addressing it.
Harry Etra: We work closely with clients to identify key environmental challenges for their businesses. Often, the first barrier for clients is figuring out how to find the available data sources for environmental metrics. We help clients calculate baselines for their energy and environmental performance by engaging directly with individuals across the organization as well as external stakeholders with access to relevant data. We then advise clients on how to set, achieve and communicate their short, medium, and long-term targets aligned with recognized standards and frameworks such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
What was a successful project or implementation you worked on at your company that you can share? Do you have any tips that would help colleagues at other companies who are contemplating similar projects?
HE: We have worked with clients to go through the process of evaluating different pathways to set long-term targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and managing the SBTi approval process. By understanding our clients’ business strategies, we worked closely with different departments to consider the different pathways and approaches for setting targets across Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions. For companies considering the SBTi process, we recommend understanding the relevant emissions categories and reviewing plans to reduce emissions given their company and industry-specific impacts.
What trends do you expect to see in the market in the next few years? What challenges will the industry face and what technologies or organizational changes will overcome them.
HE: It’s an exciting time as we are witnessing macro-level convergence in the ESG and sustainability data and disclosure world. While the long-standing complaint has been that ESG is too fragmented and not regulated, this is now changing. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently proposed landmark rule changes for climate-related disclosures that will now put climate risk firmly in the boardroom. This will inevitably bolster the burgeoning market for any technologies or services that help companies measure and track their greenhouse gas emissions as well as verify them to similar standards against which traditional financial data is assured. Organizationally, corporate boards and executive teams will be maturing their approach to and management of sustainability and ESG issues as part of their general business strategy and risk oversight.
Tell us about a favorite hobby, passion or book you’ve read recently that has had an impact on you and your work.
HE: Playing in pick-up basketball games has always been a favorite hobby. As it relates to work, the team sport component of everyone working together towards a shared goal with a unique role to bring to the team has always resonated with me as how we can achieve ambitious ESG goals at scale.
Editor’s note: nominations are now open for this year’s E+E Honorees. Nominate a colleague — or yourself — for the 2022 E+E Honoree list today.