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Stock illustration: Businesspeoplein paper boatsOnce a topic confined to activism and academia, environmental justice (EJ) has washed over national conversation, and industry is preparing for the next wave. With growing private sector awareness, Fortune 500 companies and their investors are implementing EJ policies, responding to employee demands for EJ in talent recruitment and retention, and even including EJ-based risk assessment in corporate transactional due diligence. Meanwhile, EJ continues to gain momentum in political, legislative, and administrative spheres as government agencies incorporate these principles across the regulatory landscape.

The result is a steadily rising tide of motivation flooding a historic—and often confusing— patchwork of state and federal EJ expectations. To keep afloat, industry players must be open-minded, objective, and proactive in their approach to EJ initiatives. By engaging affected communities and examining the true impacts of their business practices and policies, businesses can improve not just their bottom line but the community at large.

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