ESG: The New Business As Usual
You know something is gaining traction these days when its search volume on Google skyrockets – which is exactly what’s happened to “ESG” (environmental, social, and governance). According to the world’s most popular search engine, ESG has displayed a hockey stick graph spike in popularity since 2019.
The surge in searches represents more than an online trend; it underscores a shift in corporate value creation from a solely shareholder perspective to a holistic view of all stakeholders. ESG’s power to add value beyond the four walls of an organisation proves it’s not just about governing businesses responsibly and inclusively; it’s also about creating sustained outcomes for the environment and society.
Across industries, geographies, and company sizes, organisations are allocating more resources toward tackling ESG issues – from CO2 reductions to diversity in the workforce to whistleblowing. In doing so they are cultivating a new approach to business as usual that has these three principals – and people – at its core.
ESG: underpinned by people
Forward-thinking organisations understand that ESG issues should be viewed as a business imperative, with the board setting the tone. This allows them to foster a proactive ESG culture that is driven from the top down and implemented from the bottom up – establishing long-term value creation.
To achieve a holistic approach to ESG that weaves its principles into the fabric of the organisation, they must invest in the right people. By building a team of dedicated professionals who have the right skills, experience, and vision, they can make ESG the new business as usual.
Chief ESG Officer
The Chief ESG officer is one of the newest members of the C-suite family. Born out of a desire to leverage ESG issues to inform the corporate strategy, they are giving it a seat at the top table – and increasing its influence.
Once in place, they can enhance ESG performance, win consumer loyalty and increase employee satisfaction by implementing strategies that mitigate business risk and future-proof the brand. Their understanding of the interconnectedness of ESG issues gives them the authority to challenge traditional ways of working – and make value generation for all stakeholders a cornerstone of business as usual practices.
Head of ESG
Perfectly crafted policies created in the boardroom will fall on death ears without robust channels of communication, leaving stakeholders at all levels of the business disengaged. The Head of ESG acts as a conduit between the C-suite and the wider organisation to spread the ESG messaging. Having established an effective communication structure, they can develop ESG objectives and milestones to achieve short and long-term goals within business units and functions. It’s this ability to engage with stakeholders throughout the organisation – and beyond – that lays the foundations for ESG management to become business as usual.
By representing the business in its engagement with external stakeholders and supporting the delivery of thought leadership to the market, they can instil trust within the wider community that the organisation is committed to ESG – now and in the future.
The ESG manager supports the Head of ESG with internal and external stakeholder engagement – from communicating with regulators to running workshops, training programmes and events. It’s this holistic view of ESG management combined with their practical application of its principles that makes them respected advocates.
By implementing ESG policies and procedures that have been developed in collaboration with the board, C-suite, and employees, they oversee the development of ESG business as usual on the ground.
With these ESG champions working in unison, organisations will be empowered to transform traditional business as usual into new ways of thinking and doing, with ESG at its core – creating sustained value for all stakeholders.