Exploding EHS Myth #1: Good EHS Work Speaks for Itself


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March 2010
EHS Advantage Newsletter
From The Director

Exploring the Top EHS Myth: Good EHS Work Speaks for Itself

I would hazard a guess that, as EHS and sustainability professionals, our worst job performance is in promoting departmental or individual EHS achievements to management. We tend to believe that our efforts and successes will somehow speak for themselves at the managerial level, the CEO level and the Board of Directors level.

Wrong! The need to promote EHS and sustainability at the highest level cannot be underestimated. The challenge is in securing opportunities for consistent management dialogue and in creating an easily interpreted dashboard of metrics relative to the business goals of the organization. Perhaps the hardest “first step” in this effort is getting the attention of senior executive management to your needs by appealing to what is important to them. Most senior executives have two intertwined business goals.

The first business goal is to positively impact performance on relevant corporate metrics (stock price, P/E ratio, ROI, etc). The second is to advance their own careers to achieve “success” (in whatever manner they define it). Which of these metrics is most important for a particular executive depends both on the state of the business and on the executive’s preferred way of measuring business results. Understanding the critical challenges facing the business (and how the executive intends to address them) provides a framework for predicting how successfully you will be received and where the probable resistance will be.

The SEMI EHS Division has a number of initiatives that support your “first step” towards senior management interaction. These initiatives are aimed at promoting, at the senior executive level, the importance of EHS and sustainability to our industry by showcasing companies, individuals and products that excel in performance in these areas.

  • The Global Care Initiative establishes a framework on which the diverse membership of SEMI can build and strengthen their commitment to excellence in environmental, health and safety. Participation in Global Care is a way for companies to benchmark, build, promote and celebrate excellence in corporate EHS and sustainability performance.
  • The Akira Inoue Award recognizes individuals in industry and academia who achieve, through their leadership, significant and lasting contributions towards the advancement of EHS and sustainability. The Akira Inoue Award celebrates individual EHS and sustainability achievement.
  • The SEMICON West Sustainable Technologies Award provides recognition of SEMI member companies who provide equipment, materials or services that contribute to sustainable improvement of the environment. This award celebrates the development and commercialization of products that result in significant positive contribution to sustainable manufacturing.

One primary objective of the SEMI EHS Division is to help you gain visibility with your senior management by widely promoting EHS and sustainability successes. If you have thoughts or ideas on this subject, please let me know at azude@semi.org.

March 12, 2010