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The rise of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) criteria in corporate decision-making

The rise of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) criteria in corporate decision-making

The Trusted Advisors Legal Digest

It has become increasingly important for both companies and investors to understand the impact of ESG considerations on corporate decision with a view to balance profitability of the business with sustainability and social responsibility.

ESG refers to the environmental, social, and governance aspects of a company’s operations that can affect the long-term success of a company. In recent times, there has been an increase in the practice of incorporating the Environmental, Social and Governance criteria into the corporate decision-making process due to the impact that it can have on a company’s financial performance and the society’s overall well-being.

The rise of ESG criteria has been influenced by investors who seek not only financial returns but also seek to contribute to positive societal outcomes. This trend reflects a growing belief that sustainable, responsible business practices are linked to a company’s risk profile and overall performance.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRITERIA

The environmental aspect of ESG centers on a company’s environmental footprint. A company’s energy use, waste and pollution production, waste management procedures, utilization of renewable resources and resource conservation efforts are a few examples of the environmental criteria. This criterion helps a company to evaluate environmental risks it may face and strategize how to manage those risks.

THE SOCIAL CRITERIA

The social aspect of ESG revolves around how a company engages with its employees, customers, communities, and other relevant stakeholders. It basically examines the company’s business relationships. Social responsibility is an integral part of a company’s reputation and brand image.

Companies may seek to fulfil this criterion by engaging in ethical business practices, promoting diversity and inclusion, and supporting community development projects which is bound to enhance customer loyalty and attract new customers. In addition, prioritizing employee well-being and providing fair working conditions can boost productivity and talent retention.

Companies can benefit from a positive corporate culture, strengthened relationship with stakeholders and further contribute to the overall well-being of society by prioritizing social criteria of the ESG.

THE GOVERNANCE CRITERIA

The governance aspect of ESG deals with the systems and processes by which companies are directed, controlled, and held accountable. To maintain transparency, integrity, and ethical behavior within an organization, it is important for a company to adopt strong governance practices. This includes having effective board structures, implementing robust risk management frameworks, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. By prioritizing good governance, companies can enhance trust, build credibility, and reduce the potential for corporate misconduct.

In addition, a solid governance structure improves a company’s capacity to manage risks, make informed decisions, and provide long-term value to stakeholders. It also serves a good indicator to investors of a company’s commitment to sustainability and responsible practices. By implementing robust governance standards, companies can better manage reputational risks, ensure business continuity, and instill trust among shareholders and other stakeholders.

WHY IS THE ESG CRITERIA IMPORTANT?

They allow companies guard against risks connected with environmental sanctions, social controversies and poor governance systems. By implementing the ESG criteria, companies can improve their adaptability to regulatory changes, safeguard against reputational damage and operational inefficiencies.

Customers are becoming more aware of how the goods and services they use affect the environment and society at large. By adhering to the ESG criteria, companies can enhance not only their brand loyalty but their market share by attracting environmentally and socially conscientious consumers.

Investors are becoming more aware of the significance of ESG factors when evaluating a company’s long-term survival and resilience. Investors appreciate that it is more probable for businesses to achieve sustainable growth and strong financial performance when ESG risks and opportunities are handled well.

CONCLUSION

To excel in rapidly changing world, it is important that companies understand the significance of the ESG criteria in making corporate decisions. Companies may improve their competitiveness, bolster their financial performance, and contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive society by embracing environmental sustainability, engaging in social responsibility, and adopting strong governance standards.

Article written by Adeife Omolumo. Adeife is an associate in the corporate commercial practice group at the Trusted Advisors