Jana Utter’s high-level knowledge of ESG risk factors has enabled her to teach colleagues about the true environmental impact of healthcare: risk and insurance
Centene’s Jana Utter made ESG a priority long before it became a buzzword. And his efforts are paying off every day.
Jana Utter may now work in healthcare, but her background in energy risk management has primed her to become something of an ESG guru. Indeed, energy companies must reflect on their impact, particularly on the environment.
So when Utter joined Centene in 2015 as Vice President of Enterprise Risk Management, she brought with her the knowledge to be aware of the growing interest in the environmental impact of businesses outside energy and manufacturing sectors.
“There are aspects of ESG, environmental and social governance topics, that indicate a company is not just concerned with profitability, but also with being a good corporate steward” , Utter said. “ESG standards [at companies] generate added value beyond financial profitability and financial performance.
Added values can include a good reputation – something vital to a company’s longevity, as consumers and other stakeholders want to do business and partner with companies they view as good, fair and just.
Utter was brought to Centene to manage and monitor ERM, diving deep into emerging risks. One, she said, included the ESG topics: “I looked at what was happening outside in other sectors and then what was happening in our sector and how the two were related,” she said. His understanding of the E-pillar of ESG has been a guiding force.
“We have reported an increase in environmental topics around climate change and climate-related risks,” Utter explained. The real task, however, was to outline how this E-pillar could impact a company that operates primarily in a traditional office environment.
“The question was, ‘How do climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions apply to us?’ ” she said. But Utter found two ways to drive home the lesson: First, as a healthcare company, it was easy to demonstrate the link between climate risk and people’s health, such as fires in forest causing poor air quality and triggering respiratory problems.
The other piece of the educational puzzle came from Utter’s experience as a risk manager in the energy sector. She knew the importance of addressing environmental impacts, and she could talk about them with familiarity in a way that others would understand instead of using jargon-heavy presentations to explain greenhouse gas emissions.
Thanks to the efforts of Utter and his team, Centene implemented its ESG messaging in early 2020.
Additionally, Centene’s ESHG strategic framework defines health or “H” as a separate pillar. In meetings with senior management to develop the company’s ESG strategy, health topics were regularly discussed as central to Centene’s strategy, purpose and mission and equally important to stakeholders in the business. ‘company. Therefore, it seemed natural to put more emphasis on health initiatives.
“It’s an advantage insofar as we have already started this. We need to present our message about what we do, and we can do so within our ESHG strategic framework, which naturally aligns with many of our existing initiatives,” Utter said. While some companies are just getting started, Utter has set up Centene to succeed in ESHG efforts.
And as the person responsible for reviewing ERM strategies, Utter added that jumping in and championing ESG was a no-brainer.
“Companies that deliver long-term financial results also turn out to be good corporate citizens,” Utter said. “It’s ERM in an ESG world. It is about looking at enterprise risk management and seeing how ESG performance indicators can impact the business. » &
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