Harmonizing EHS and Sustainability: A Path to Responsible Business

EHS and Sustainability

Jochen Zeitz has said, “Sustainability is no more about doing less harm. It is about doing more good.”

And the “more good” implies incorporating sustainability practices and making them a part of your organization’s culture.

Thus, EHS leaders prioritize risk management and EHS strategies through sustainable approaches. There needs to be a proper budget assigned to sustainable practices and disclosure regulations along with the funding for EHS staffing, technology, and processes.

Times are changing, and so are sustainability approaches. Just implementing sustainability strategies is not enough. The customers, stakeholders, and investors need to see tangible and positive results of those strategies. 

EHS and sustainability were considered two separate fields, but that is history. Now, EHS and sustainability need to go hand in hand. They are deeply interconnected in many ways and need an alignment for successful endeavors.

In fact, on the corporate embrace of sustainability goals, the United Nations Global Compact reported that as of 2021, over 13,000 companies from 160 countries had committed to its Ten Principles, including sustainability principles.

So when so many organizations take it seriously, there must be some positivity, right?

So, let us explore more about the relationship.

The EHS – Sustainability Relationship

We all know that EHS defines the safety aspects of a workplace. These aspects include practices, policies, rules, and regulations to protect their employees, the environment, the workplace, and the communities in which they operate.

Similarly, sustainability means saving the earth and its resources for future generations. It focuses on reducing carbon emissions, conserving resources, promoting social equity, and more.

The common factors of the EHS and Sustainability relationship are;

Compliance: Adhering to EHS regulations and sustainable initiatives is not just a legal requirement; it also helps businesses avoid costly fines and legal troubles.

Did you know the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that in the fiscal year 2020, it collected over $166 million in civil penalties from companies for violations of environmental regulations? And we believe no organization wants to be a part of that!

Safety: Prioritizing the well-being of employees reduces accidents, injuries, and lost productivity. Implementing sustainable initiatives ensures that you care about the safety of the environment and its resources.

Reputation: Responsible EHS and sustainability practices enhance the company’s reputation, attracting customers and investors who value sustainability.

A survey by Nielsen found that 66% of consumers globally are willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact!

Risk Mitigation: EHS tools help to mitigate risks by providing proper training and a proactive approach. And sustainable practices reduce long-term risks associated with climate change, resource scarcity, and social unrest.

Competitive Advantage: Businesses that embrace EHS and sustainability are more attractive to environmentally conscious consumers and investors.

Innovation: Pursuing the latest EHS and sustainability initiatives often drives innovation, leading to cost savings and new revenue streams.

As all the common points point towards EHS and sustainability having a partnership, it is essential to harmonize them. Below, we have discussed why your EHS and sustainability initiatives must go hand-in-hand.

Why Harmonize EHS and Sustainability Goals?

We have listed specific reasons for the following;

  • Why EHS and sustainability goals need to be interconnected.
  • Why they must not be treated as the different sides of the same coin?
  • And how their combination aims for the organization’s safe, secure, and sustainable future.

Shared Goals

EHS and sustainability aim to minimize adverse environmental and safety impacts. By aligning their objectives, businesses can optimize their efforts and resources toward a common goal: sustainable, responsible, and ethical operations.

Cost Savings

Harmonization reduces duplication of efforts. For example, energy-efficient practices that fall under sustainability can also lead to reduced environmental risks and operational costs, thus benefiting both areas. This leads to reducing costs for the same time and, at the same time, enhancing productivity while attaining a safe and sustainable culture.

Enhanced Reporting

Integrated EHS and sustainability reporting provide a holistic view of a company’s performance. When stakeholders know exactly what is going on in the processes for attaining sustainability and safety, their trust in the organization increases. This transparency also demonstrates the businesses’ commitment to responsible business practices.


The synchronization of sustainability and EHS practices helps companies anticipate and adapt to evolving challenges. Whether local or international regulations, resource scarcity, or shifting consumer preferences, it ensures businesses remain resilient and adaptive.

As you can see, harmonizing both activities can lead to achieving business goals quickly and easily. And the best part is that this harmonization affects not only the EHS employees but the overall organization in a truly positive way.

Steps Toward Harmonization

Now you know how beneficial harmonizing sustainability and EHS initiatives is. So here are a few simple ways to blend EHS and sustainability.


Conduct a thorough assessment of your current EHS and sustainability practices to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses.


Make employees, supply chain managers, and stakeholders a part of the harmonization process. You never know who comes up with the most workable ideas.

Goal Setting

Establish clear, concise, measurable goals encompassing EHS and sustainability objectives. And ensure they are in alignment with the organization’s goals and objectives.


Integrate sustainability considerations into EHS programs and vice versa. For example, consider the environmental impact of workplace safety measures and consider the safety measures while executing sustainable recycling or waste management processes.

Continuous Improvement

Regularly review and update harmonized EHS and sustainability practices to stay ahead of evolving challenges. Also, you must know whether the executed harmonization techniques are working as expected!


Harmonizing EHS and sustainability is a strategic imperative for businesses looking to thrive in a world increasingly focused on responsible, sustainable, and ethical practices.

By aligning your EHS and sustainability efforts, you can easily enhance your reputation, reduce risks, and contribute to a more sustainable future. And if you still do not believe us, we have the numbers to prove:

A National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM) survey found that 75% of EHS professionals believe their organizations have made significant progress in integrating EHS and sustainability programs!

Therefore, embracing this synergy must not be just a choice; it must be considered as a path to responsible and enduring business success.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

1. What does it mean for an organization to be sustainable? 

A sustainable organization cares for its employees, environment, and community responsibly and ethically.

2. Is there a connection between EHS and sustainability?

Yes, EHS and sustainability are interconnected. The environment, health, and safety aspects must be merged with the sustainability initiatives for overall success.

3. Can technology help in achieving EHS and sustainability goals?

Technology can play a prominent role in achieving EHS and sustainability goals simultaneously. For example, EHS software can track if the safety processes are affecting sustainability initiatives in a positive way or not.

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