The rise of ESG and how to capitalise on it

02 December 2021

See that graph? ESG is a certified hot topic right now. Organisations are talking about it, making a business case for it, shouting about it! So what’s changed?

Stakeholders are putting pressure on organisations and top talent candidates are demanding serious social credentials from potential employers.

70% of employees consider a company’s stance on social issues in deciding whether or not to stay in their current job

38% of customers are boycotting products or services for ethical reasons

92% of people want corporations to address societal issues and build an economy serving all stakeholders.

                                                                                                          Robin Nuttall, Expert Partner at McKinsey & Company

                                                                                                          SimplySUMMIT ‘After COP26 – what’s your purpose?’

Perhaps one of the most important changes in the attitudes of investors. Investors have (finally…) swung the dial and are now investing in the future too. It’s not all from the good of their heart though, there is a strong business case to be made for ESG investing. In research shared by Robin Nuttall at the SimplySUMMIT conference, it was quantifiably clear that ESG leaders outperformed ESG laggers both when Covid hit initially, and on the way out.

 So we can agree, it’s crucial your organisation has clear ESG goals and is accountable to them. For a truly an ESG strategy to be successful, however, an organisation needs clarity in the mission and a strategy.


High jumps and long jumps.

In Robin’s fantastic framework, a high jump is when an organisation clears the bar on a range of criteria. This includes things like disclosing diversity statistics, company policies, ethical codes. A long jump is when an organisation takes a commitment to the next level in selected areas.

Some long jumps for inspiration

E: Microsoft declared they would work towards being lifetime carbon negative

S: Paypal have extended their work to democratise money by raising the employee basic income

G: Starbucks have tied executive compensation to meeting diversity and inclusion targets

Pick one cause, one purpose, and go for it with everything you have.


The four tenets of ESG for business leaders

Map your world: This is reflexive. What’s your starting point? What your organisations superpowers and vulnerabilities?

Define your contribution: What are the initiatives to make it happen?

Embed it in the business: What are the metrics of success? How can we weave this purpose into daily practices?

Engage: Develop tailored stakeholder engagement plans. Who are the champions who are going to amplify your efforts? (Short answer: employees!)

COP26 was another milestone in a very long journey, but seeing organisations pivot their focus to ESG and recognise their role in societal issues and change is encouraging. We all need to keep the pressure on and innovate practical solutions to address the plethora of challenges we collectively face.

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