The importance of ESG in meeting climate goals, with MNR graduate Lia Luczynski
January 3, 2023
By Lindsay Kuczera
After nearly 30 years in the oil and gas industry, Lia Luczynski decided to change course and use her IT and project management expertise to make a positive impact on the planet. After researching several programs, Lia found the style and online format of Virginia Tech’s Masters of Natural Resources program would best suit her goal of transitioning to a new field and getting back to work within a year.
Like many students entering the MNR program, Lia didn’t have a hard sciences background. She did, however, know that following the Sustainable Business track would help her connect the dots between her skill sets and sustainability industry needs. Being a student after a long career didn’t bother Lia. She felt very comfortable and welcomed in the program by faculty and students alike. “This is a wonderful program for people in any stage of their career,” Lia said.
Building a business
After graduating, Lia rebranded her consulting company to focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and supply chain optimization. Revurbia is a boutique, industry-agnostic consulting firm whose mission is to offer consulting services to help companies on their journey to meet and exceed stakeholder expectations in the areas of ESG and climate goal setting, meeting, and reporting. As the owner and lead consultant of her business, Lia helps clients understand and respond to regulations that will reduce their carbon footprint and other greenhouse gas emissions impacts while being transparent to their stakeholders and the public.
Although Revurbia does not focus on the energy sector for clientele, Lia noted that many companies in the fossil fuel industry are considering changes on the inevitable path forward to renewables and reduced emissions. And although not exclusively working with them, Lia said that they need people who can help them execute ESG-centered goals and implement the changes that are required to meet emissions targets.
Defining E, S, and G
Sustainability professionals will most likely be familiar with the concept of ESG. Investors, corporate stakeholders, and even consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of supporting companies that have robust environmental, social, and governance strategies. But why does it matter?
At its center, ESG is a way in which companies are evaluated as it relates to their impact on the planet and people. With the recent public health, climate, and social justice crises, ESG is a way to measure the non-financial impacts of companies and investments.
E = Environmental concerns, including greenhouse gas emissions; other air and water pollutants; and water, waste, and energy management.
S = Social concerns, including diversity, equity, and inclusion; human and labor rights; safe working conditions; health and safety; employee relations; anti-corruption; and impact on local communities.
G = Governance concerns, including ownership and structural transparency, shareholder rights, board of directors’ independence and oversight, board diversity, data transparency, business ethics, and executive compensation fairness.
ESG has long been a function ensconced in other roles within corporations, but is getting more attention recently. “Many companies are hiring sustainability roles crucial to address climate change concerns while awareness increases and environmentally-related regulations and carbon pricing become more feasible every day,” added Lia. Brand reputation is also a driver in how ESG is managed and portrayed. Helping companies assess risk and develop strategies to mitigate in these areas is a key focus of Lia’s new consulting business.
Investing in educational resources
Revurbia has just become a founding member of the MCJ Collective which was borne of the My Climate Journey Podcast. Lia recommends this podcast because it has versatile subject matter to interest people in any stage of their journey to participate in climate action. One episode featuring Elizabeth Lewis of Blackstone covers the importance of technology investing and calling out climate as a top priority in the environment part of ESG. Another episode features Jamie Alexander talking about Drawdown Labs, which is the operational execution of the ideas in Project Drawdown. “If you are ever feeling bummed about the state of climate change, this is a good pick-me-up and reminder of all the good that is happening out there and how everyone can play a part,” Lia said.
Lia noted meeting many enthusiastic and intelligent students, and would welcome anyone graduating to reach out if they are interested in doing remote consulting work with Lia at Revurbia.