Simply put, companies of all kinds are discovering that environmental, social, and governance policies play an essential role in their success. So how can your organization leverage ESG standards to make a positive impact on the world while also meeting financial goals?
Net-zero is the term that describes the goal of negating the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions created by human activity, effectively achieving balance between the emissions produced and those that are eliminated from the atmosphere.
Committing to becoming a net-zero company means understanding how your organization currently contributes to GHG emissions within the three scope classifications:
- Scope 1: Direct emissions such as those produced by your facilities and vehicles
- Scope 2: Indirect emissions created by activities such as purchasing and using electricity
- Scope 3: Emissions along your extended supply chain
This approach also includes setting long-term goals that are in line with net-zero objectives and your business’s mission, identifying relevant programs and technologies to assist in the process, and clearly measuring and reporting on the progress and benefits of your net-zero projects.
The transition to net-zero can be a difficult one, but the advantages go beyond sustainability. Net-zero companies are more likely to attract investment interest, reduce reliance on nonrenewable energy grids, improve brand reputation, and increase profitability by reducing operational costs and optimizing core processes.
ESG sometimes gets oversimplified as corporate policies relating to environmental sustainability, but the social aspect of ESG is just as important. Diversity programs can help businesses develop a more inclusive workforce. This results in a broader range of perspectives and skills, which has been shown to result in improved reputation and talent acquisition, along with increased profits and productivity.
With such a robust business case for diversity, many companies are embracing workforce policies based on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). By applying DEI principles, organizations take steps to ensure that people from all backgrounds have equal opportunities for hiring and advancement.
Given the increasingly digital world in which we all live, it’s impossible to evaluate risk without discussing data security. Even before the pandemic forced much of the world to rely on digital channels for communication, entertainment, shopping, etc., data governance was already playing an important role in investment evaluation. Today, companies in every industry house massive volumes of customer and business data. Businesses that fail to protect their data face loss of customer trust and possible liability for damages suffered, along with fines and other consequences related to regulatory non-compliance.
The G in ESG stands for governance—how a company is managed. This encompasses all decisions related to how the company attends to the needs of stakeholders, including how data is managed and secured. Establishing effective data-security standards protects all stakeholders and demonstrates that your organization is serious about mitigating data security risk.