As businesses have adapted to the tide of increasing regulation and statutory disclosure over the last decade, they can be forgiven for adopting a similar compliance-led approach to ESG communications (more recently termed sustainability or corporate social responsibility).
Typical enquiries will begin, ‘just tell me what I have to disclose’….and ‘isn’t there a standardised list of requirements that I can just follow’, when navigating the various ratings agencies and their criteria.
The solution lies in the materiality process and a defined assessment of what your key stakeholders think matter in relation to your business objectives. And in many scenarios, companies will be surprised how much they are currently doing actually falls under ESG, including investment in people, local job creation and process optimisation that not only lowers costs but use of resources.
The challenge is to move ESG from being a side project of limited consideration to a central business process that impacts across an organisation and integrates with standard operational strategy.
At a time when companies are required to promote evidence of value creation beyond the traditional investor and our use of resources is high on the consumer agenda, it is time to take a broader look at a company’s impact and contribution.