As KORE Power’s Director of ESG, I have spent my first ten months at KORE developing our sustainability strategy and program (which will use synonymously throughout this blog). In this blog, I will tell you more about our process for developing our program strategy, give you tips for creating your own sustainability strategy, and give you an inside look at working at KORE (dear reader: they did not tell me to say this but it’s the best job I’ve ever had).

Some notes before we get started:

1.    While many companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees to develop their sustainability programs, we did all the work in-house. We wanted our program to be genuine, impactful, and honest (there will be no green washing or obfuscation here) and having full control of the process allowed us to do so. While many companies are driven to this work by investors, it was paramount for KORE that we also address the most important and material topics for our greatest stakeholders- our employees and the communities in which we operate.

2.    It is easy to have a sustainability program when the product your company is manufacturing is the bedrock of the energy transition here in the United States. This enabled us to think big and not be afraid of taking bold actions.

3.    KORE is a special place to work. Despite being a relative newcomer to the team, the whole team trusted me to deliver our sustainability program and strategy. There is an immense amount of respect between the executive team and employees at KORE, and everyone seems happy to get to work every day. In the case of our sustainability strategy, this allowed me to run with ideas that might have been too bold at other companies (like pledging that we will pay at or above a living wage to every single one of our employees). As the director of sustainability, this gave me an opening to make sure that our sustainability strategy directly benefited our employees so that, to be glib, the good vibes could continue. When you have the chance to makes someone’s life better, you should take it.

4.    The greatest flaw of corporate sustainability is that it sometimes requires a lexicon to understand it. It was important that our program and strategy be approachable and understandable. Anyone at our company – from our CFO to our engineers to our IT staff – should be able to look at our sustainability strategy and understand what our goals are and what we are working towards.

Creating a sustainability program:

Our first order of business was to perform a landscape analysis of sustainability programs, strategies, and goals in the energy storage sector. This included looking at our competitors’ programs, reading every article published on the environmental and social impacts of minerals, checking in on the latest work by NGOs, IGOs, and trade organizations, and getting a firm understanding of what was being talked about and done in energy storage. This research helped us to perform a back-of-the-envelope materiality assessment, where we identified important sustainability risks for our company and industry (note: we are currently in the process of doing a formal materiality assessment). For example, we know that there will be significant competition for employees in our industry, so we designed our social pillar to be bold and employee-focused. Similarly, we know that due to EU regulations, environmental impact disclosure will be required for all batteries, so we made sure to include life cycle assessments for our primary products as part of our environmental pillar. From a sustainability perspective, companies within the energy storage value chain face very similar risks. Thus, in our governance pillar, we made sure to include actions with our supply chain partners so that we can make progress together.

One resource that inspired our program is the UN Global Compact’s SDG Ambitions, which outline meaningful goals for corporations to take to address the global challenges described in the UN Sustainability Development Goals. The SDG ambitions are bold but practical actions that apply to many companies and are the right things to do. Four of our sustainability goals are direct reflections of the SDG Ambition Benchmarks. (For sustainability departments that are resource constrained, the SDG Ambition and Integration Guides are free resources that can help to create a program that’s impactful).

Once the outline of our program and strategy was drafted, we began to socialize the program internally to get stakeholder buy-in. Sustainability is multi-disciplinary and requires collaboration across different departments, from HR to supply chain to engineering. It was important that our internal stakeholders were onboard with these ideas, timelines, and actions. This was also an opportunity to make sure our sustainability program was well aligned to our corporate strategy and supported our products.

While our sustainability strategy debuted in January 2024, sustainability is inherently iterative. We look forward to providing updates asour program matures and our company expands.

Guest Written By KORE Power Director of ESG, Caitlin Chiquelin

About KORE Power:

KORE is a leading U.S.-based developer of battery cell technology and integrated solution manufacturer for the energy storage and e-mobility sectors. With clients in energy storage, e-mobility, utility, industrial and defense markets, KORE provides battery products and solutions that are the backbone for decarbonization across the globe. KORE is uniquely positioned to serve these markets as an integrated provider of cells, batteries, and solutions. Commercial production at the KOREPlex is targeted for 2025. The KOREPlex will have an initial annual production capacity of 6 GWh of battery cells, which may be expanded to 12 GWh to meet market demand. KORE is headquartered in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with operations in Waterbury, Vermont, and Buckeye, Arizona.

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