Cologix has made enormous strides since starting our formal Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) journey in 2021. Earlier this year, we chronicled this progress by publishing our second annual ESG Report titled “Engineered For Scale.” In this report, we outline the initiatives and goals that will guide our work in the coming years.
But achieving ESG success is a company-wide endeavor. As employees reviewed these reports and heard more about ESG in meetings and through social media, they wanted to learn more about the company’s initiatives and the role they play in our march toward ESG excellence. With assistance from members of the ESG Steering Subcommittees and Page Haun, Cologix’s Chief Marketing Officer and ESG Strategy Officer, Cologix hosted two virtual forums in early November to address any ESG-related questions, comments and concerns. Each lasted an hour and was attended by approximately 100 employees.
“The members of the ESG Steering Subcommittee were excited to participate in open discussions with our employees, many of whom have shown great interest in Cologix’s ESG initiatives,” Haun said. “We wanted to hear their thoughts and ideas.”
One meeting focused on environmental initiatives and the other was dedicated to social and governance discussions. Before the meetings, Cologix employees received a survey that allowed them to propose discussion topics, ask questions and make suggestions about how to progress faster or better on ESG initiatives. The majority of these questions and topics were addressed by the members of the ESG subcommittees, and attendees were also encouraged to comment and ask additional questions live during each discussion.
“We really do want this to be a conversation,” Haun said during her opening remarks.
“How Do We Get There from Here?”
Environmental subcommittee members Don Poskin, Cologix’s Vice President of Data Operations, Nathan Hazelwood, Cologix’s Chief Development Officer, and Haun focused on what many employees were curious about – our sustainability efforts, use of renewable energy and Cologix’s quest to be a carbon-neutral company by 2030.
“I was very happy with the number of Cologix employees who attended the forum, given that it was optional,” Poskin said. “This shows a high level of interest and support from the employee base, and it will make ESG initiatives easier to implement over time. I also was impressed with the number of questions related to, ‘How do we get there from here?’ We have high goals set for our ESG program, and it will require cooperation from everyone to make incremental improvements required each year to reach the various targets leading to 2030.”
The meeting even birthed another possible ESG initiative when one employee suggested donating old laptops to a non-profit organization rather than simply hiring a company to dispose of them.
A Company Where Everyone Fits
The social and governance discussions were led by ESG subcommittee members Laura Saunders, Vice President, Human Resources; Phillip Eck, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel; Corinne Shalvoy, Senior Director of Talent, Employee Engagement and DE&I (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion); Dawn Smith, Cologix’s President; Jim Mohrbacher, Assistant Controller; and Haun and Hazelwood.
Saunders and Shalvoy spoke about the steps Cologix is taking regarding DE&I, including ensuring that 100% of the company’s hiring processes include interviewing diverse populations by 2025. Additionally, they discussed the company’s recent launching of the Cologix Women’s Connection Network, which serves all women-identified employees by providing a safe environment for them to share their stories and listen to others as well as network inside and outside of Cologix with other women leaders.
Eck and Hazelwood outlined the company’s governance initiatives. The goal is for Cologix to have 100% of its workforce complete ethics and compliance training annually by 2023, and for the company to develop a Supplier Code of Conduct. These initiatives will help Cologix continue to meet industry expectations, hit customer goals and maintain its best-in-class governance program.
A Positive Experience
The meetings were well received by those in attendance, and many asked the subcommittee to schedule them for each quarter going forward. Members of the ESG Steering Committee also encouraged employees to reach out to them at any time throughout the year.
“I was excited to hear our employees ask our ESG team difficult questions about the future of Cologix and our commitment to ESG,” said Laura Ortman, Cologix’s Chief Executive Officer. “It can seem like ESG is just another new business fad, but it is rooted in strong risk management practices and responding to the needs of our most important stakeholders. To grow and succeed in our industry, we must be a strong ESG leader. Seeing ESG as a collective effort and fostering an open dialogue about that effort is a key enabler for our success.”
In an effort to involve more employees across the company in our ESG activities, Cologix is launching Local ESG Teams. These teams, consisting of eight to 10 people located in markets where Cologix has facilities, provide employees an opportunity to make ESG impacts at a local level through activities such as starting a recycling program or planning a local volunteer activity to give back to the community.