Similar to corporate social responsibility (CSR), ESG factors may have been seen as an afterthought for organizations, but it is no longer an optional extra. With the rise of social media and increased attention to environmental and social issues, ESG is attracting increased interest. And it’s not just about getting an item right. In other words, ESG is not just about whether a company avoids polluting the air; it’s also about how that company treats its workers, whether it respects human rights, and whether its board is diverse.
It is also becoming increasingly important for companies to demonstrate their commitment to ESG principles. Indeed, many investors are now looking to invest in companies that have a strong ESG track record, as this is seen as a predictor of future success. ESG investing has been shown to outperform traditional investing over time, making it an increasingly popular choice for investors. But it’s not just investors who have sustainable and ethical practices on their agenda; it appeals to a wide range of relevant audiences, from employees and potential recruits to customers, potential customers, partners and political stakeholders.
So what does ESG mean for your organization? It’s not just for large companies, any organization can take steps to implement these principles. ESG performance reporting is becoming increasingly important as investors, customers and employees want to see what companies are doing to address social and environmental issues. This can be used to create value for your organization, improving employee morale, attracting new customers and employees, and reducing costs. Taking steps to improve your ESG score is not only good for the environment and society, but it can also improve your bottom line. ESG-focused companies often see increased employee engagement and customer loyalty, as well as reduced operating costs.
Many of us have reflected on the lockdown and are more focused on our purpose at work and in life. This is certainly the case with Perceptive, where we have chosen to focus specifically on supporting customers who are improving lives and transforming the future of science, technology and the built environment. Our own ESG journey is still ongoing, but we are fortunate that many of our clients were already focusing on sustainability, positive social impact and conducting business ethically before ESG became a household term.
One of the benefits of Perceptive’s flat structure is that we can be nimble and quickly implement ideas, including those related to ESG. Some were cynical about our pioneering approach to hybrid working when we started 16 years ago, but it has resulted in huge carbon emissions savings and a much better quality of life for our team. We have also focused on providing pro bono communications support for charities such as Action for Children and The Simon Community Scotland. Another hugely important driver for Perceptive is to support and encourage more diversity and inclusion, especially in male-dominated sectors like construction and technology.
If you’re looking to get into ESG, there are a few key things you need to keep in mind. First, focus on the areas most important to your organization and your stakeholders. Second, set ambitious goals and create a plan to achieve them. And finally, remember that ESG is an ongoing journey – there is always room for improvement!
Julie Moulsdale is Managing Director at Perceptive Communicators