Dec 02, 2020
By Kelby Clark
Released nearly a year after the merger of Viacom and CBS, the report highlights the company’s three core areas of focus.
ViacomCBS’ first Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, released Wednesday, is as much a reflection of its progress as it is a document of its ambition.
The report (titled Action: ESG at ViacomCBS) outlines our company’s three ESG priorities, which organize all our business impacts across ViacomCBS: On-Screen Content and Social Impact, Workforce and Culture, and Sustainable Production and Operations. It also represents our commitment to transparency as ViacomCBS continues to develop its ESG strategy.
“We’re creating a baseline for ourselves,” says Jessica Thurston, director of ESG strategy and reporting at ViacomCBS. “The report itself is very much a moment in time and a means to an end to communicate our ESG priorities and document our most material data annually. But, most importantly, it holds us accountable to our own priorities and serves as a guide for how we can improve and innovate in the journey ahead.”
Thurston, who oversaw the development of the report from preparation to execution, says a clear picture of ViacomCBS’ impact across business lines was critical following the merger of Viacom and CBS in December 2019. The company plans to give an update on its sustainability and ESG efforts in its next report, slated to be released in mid-2021.
“Our inaugural ESG report is the first of many steps we’re taking to embed ESG and sustainability into our business,” says Crystal Barnes, SVP of corporate social responsibility and ESG at ViacomCBS. “We recognize that we have a responsibility as a content company to continue to support diversity, inclusion, equity, and sustainability. We take that responsibility seriously and are committed to evolving and strengthening our impact in the future.”
The ViacomCBS Newsroom spoke with Thurston about the value of sustainable production and the challenge of integrating ESG efforts across the company’s multiple brands and divisions.
"Our ESG focus is to make the company the best place to work in front of and behind the camera."
"It took this cultural combining of the companies to start to get our story on paper."