The Power of a Centralized ESG Management System to Streamline Company Acquisitions

Lindsay Brill

Mergers and acquisitions are a common practice in today’s increasingly global world.  In fact, according to Forbes April, 2021 article, “Global M&A [mergers & acquisitions] activity reached $1.3 trillion in value in the first quarter of 2021, according to data from Renfinitiv, the London-based market data provider, a 94% surge from the first quarter of 2020…”  While deals are getting bigger, piquing the interest of more companies to follow suite, the reality of mergers and acquisitions for leaders and their employees involved in the undertaking can be a challenging one filled with on-going changes and uncertainties.

Although many of the growing pains felt during a merger or acquisition are due to the very nature of the expansion itself, centralized, digital management systems can play a key role in easing the transition for leaders and employees alike.  Linde Inc., a multinational chemicals company, has been a subscriber of Benchmark Digital Partner’s transformative digital ESG solutions since 2017 and when they merged with Praxair Inc. to form the largest industrial gas company by market share and revenue, they were able to lean on the platform to help smooth part of the process.

A Centralized ESG Management System in Action

Linde serves customers in the healthcare, petroleum refining, manufacturing, food, beverage carbonation, fiber-optics, steel making, aerospace, chemicals, electronics, and water treatment industries.  With over 300 distinct locations across North America, their expansive footprint, employment reach, and industry breadth mean there are an array of compliance and regulatory requirements they must meet.  Utilizing Benchmark ESG’s suite of Environmental Management solutions, they are able to focus on compliance assurance for regulatory tasks and obligations as well as health and safety and overall ESG program visibility through data analytics and reporting capabilities.

With these existing systems in place at Linde, the former Praxair employees and leadership teams were able to tap into the structure to bring on their newly merged sites.  Spearheading the implementation, their Environmental Manager, Scott Poole, who oversees bulk gas business commented, “We previously had a work order system that we used for environmental health.  In that system the users were required to go into the system and print out task instructions to be completed within a undisclosed timeframe.  This made things very archaic and complicated when trying to manage tasks which needed to be completed on time.  Moving from paper to electronic within Benchmark has helped us to organize our tasks to ensure they are completed on time with the Compliance Calendar Application.”

Organizing and managing their environmental tasks as they worked through the acquisition and beyond is just one advantage of a digital system.  But centralizing task execution processes and streamlining system training and education through the digital system can help to form a cohesive team, working towards common goals.  Those targets can then be tracked with data analytics and reporting to keep organizational leaders and individual team members informed and on the same page.

Flexibility and Scalability Matter

As the business acquires new sites and eliminates or merges others, having a digital system to track this data is vital, but ensuring the flexibility and scalability of the system can make the transition much smoother.  Rather than starting fresh each time a site is added or removed, a flexible digital management system enables organizations to easily adjust their scale without affecting existing system data or causing a disruption in daily workflows.   During the Linde/Praxair merger, Scott Poole added that this flexibility was key, “I had a discussion with one of my clients today about how easy it is to implement Benchmark’s systems.  The system is very intuitive, and you are able to customize it to your company’s needs.  The platform is much easier to work with than a lot of other platforms I’ve used.”

Whether firmly established at the start of a merger or acquisition or implemented to help work through the process, a centralized, digital management system is an invaluable asset.  From aligning team members to a common goal, educating on organizational processes and deadlines, creating visibility into goals, targets, and commitments, and offering the ability to grow and evolve with the company and its structure, they are powerful tools to streamline company acquisitions.  Benchmark ESG offers multiple applications for digital transformation of Risk + Compliance, Sustainability, and Stewardship programs in a flexible, scalable, and customizable platform.  Learn more about Benchmark ESG to support your growing organization.