Establishing an ESG Strategy for Tribal Governments

ESG (environmental, social, and governance) factors can impact an organization’s reputational, political, and operational risk. How ESG is implemented and reported varies by industry and organization.

For Tribal governments, your unique ESG strategy will depend on the nature of your government operations, your enterprises, and your Tribal members’ and council’s priorities and long-term goals. Because you have elected officials, you’ll want to ensure your strategy has a strong focus on governance.

Steps to Establishing an ESG Strategy and Program

  1. Conduct a readiness assessment
  2. Identify a leader
  3. Decide outcomes you want to achieve

Readiness Assessment

Identify whether or not you have the organizational resources, skills, and capacity to establish a strategy and program. If not, assess:

  • What gaps exist?
  • What resources may you need to address those gaps?

If you build an ESG strategy that isn’t supported, there are potential risks to the Tribe’s reputation and the strategy’s effectiveness.

Identify a Leader

Once you’re ready to establish a strategy, identify a leader to champion the creation and execution of the ESG program.

This leader should have enough authority across the Tribal government and enterprises to gather data, engage cross-functional teams, and influence strategy.

Decide Outcomes You Want to Achieve

Decide the outcomes you want to achieve through your ESG initiatives. Ask yourself what’s meaningful to your Tribal members, your council, your staff, and other stakeholders?

Considerations for Tribal Government Operations:
  • Sustainable and socially responsible investing
  • Environmental impact of government and enterprise operations
  • Responsible stewardship of land and other environmental assets
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Employee engagement
  • Human rights
  • Tribal council oversight of key policy and strategic matters
  • Governance policies and procedures
ESG Considerations for Casino Operations:
  • Energy and renewable energy use, and diversification of resources
  • Construction and maintenance of casino and hotel facilities
  • Community and not-for-profit support
  • Local and state government relations
  • Governance and oversight of anti-money laundering laws and regulations

ESG Reporting and Communicating Progress

The most important part of your ESG strategy is deciding what and how to report your progress toward achieving outcomes. You’ll want to tell your own story and provide timely, relevant information to your members and stakeholders.

Identify Performance Metrics

For each outcome area, identify meaningful performance metrics. Performance metrics will vary for each organization based on your unique operations and the outcomes you established.

Assess the data you have available, identify any gaps you want to fill, and ensure that the data you report to the Tribal council, members, stakeholders, and your staff, is reliable and accurate.

Create an ESG Report Dashboard

Collect that data in an easy-to-understand performance dashboard so you can communicate your progress.

A successful ESG report dashboard will be a snapshot of your current status and trends over time, show performance against defined targets, and encourage dialogue about progress toward goals.

Providing a regular report to the Tribal council on a quarterly or biannual basis will help you monitor progress and refine goals as your ESG strategy matures.

We’re Here to Help

For guidance in creating an ESG program and strategy, developing a dashboard, or reporting on progress, contact your Moss Adams professional.

You can also visit our Tribal & Gaming Practice or Environmental, Social, and Governance Services page for more information.

Contact Us with Questions

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