Amanda | 25th August 2021 - 9 min read
In the last few years Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) has become a bit of a buzz term in the industry, in many ways overtaking its predecessor Corporate Social Responsibility.
In essence, ESG is a measure of how much ‘goodness’ a company is putting out into the World. Is it being a responsible caretaker of the planet? Considerate and kind to its employees? Is its management trustworthy and transparent?
Conceived in investment circles due to the growing number of millennial investors, the trend has expanded in recent years to the general consumer. More than ever, we are becoming hyper-aware of the ethics behind a company before we decide to invest money, time or effort into their services. We’re asking whether purchasing a product from one company over another, is the more ‘ethical choice’. We want the companies we buy from to share the same values as us.
It’s worth noting here that ESG is not a box-ticking exercise (even though it may look that way), it goes much further than that. A successful ESG strategy needs to implement a change in company culture. This means, these policies need to be sewn into the company fabric, they need to be agreed on and followed by the staff because they care about them – not because it’s obligatory. ESG initiatives must be driving real world results, and so companies need a system in place that encourages employees to support activities related to ESG, whether that’s volunteering, sustainability initiatives, or mentorship programmes.
It’s not to say companies are ‘unethical’ if they don’t advertise their commitment to these standards. In fact, most of the time, companies have a lot of these policies in place, they just fail to market them appropriately. Without being clear about what you do stand for, it leaves room for people to assume you don’t care… or worse, looks like there’s something you’re trying to hide.
Carbon emissions; studies show time and time again, that carbon emissions are the greatest concern to investors and consumers. If you haven’t already, take time to go through an environmental audit of your company. There are websites that can help with this, but first off find out what your carbon footprint is. And then understand how you can minimise it, and offset it.
Have a look at; https://www.carbonfootprint.com
If you’re at the beginning of your ESG journey, looking at the environmental factors is great way to start. Focusing on this issue first enables you to identify projects that reduce energy, emissions and produce clear financial ROI.
The social elements of ESG are often the most challenging to companies, simply because it is harder to define what ‘good social responsibility’ looks like, and there is rarely internal consensus over what these policies should (or shouldn’t) include.
Governance, although similarly important, tends to fare lower than the Environmental or Social aspects of ESG strategy.
Looking for examples of ESG frameworks? You can find the SchemeServe ESG policies here.
Manda has worked in a huge range of industries including theatre, higher education, charity fundraising and animal welfare. She has been a freelance Copywriter for a number of years, and joins us as Marketing Manager. She has a First Class degree in Creative Writing.
She loves animals, swing music, psychology, cake, pesto, ballet and walking to the top of really big hills.