Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG)
ESG is the latest and popular term used by multiple industries in commercial line, it is also being applied by many governing bodies on parties such as financial institutions, association, multinational corporation (MNC), government-linked corporation (GLC), listed or public companies, small and medium enterprises (SME). There are various differences in CSR and ESG while CSR is a short form for Corporate Social Responsibility while the latter term covers a wider scope. Impactfulness is there for both, but investors, authorities, suppliers, consumers and the general public are now expecting much more extension compared to the earlier CSR standard implied traditionally. Business accountability is the main objective to be achieved by CSR-oriented corporates whereas ESG has a bigger role on the ethical status when we are evaluating companies, from share acquisition, products purchase, service enrolment as well as potential collaborative partnering.
Based on the data found on Bloomberg, corporates spend quite a big sum on ESG data, ranging from USD 505 million (2018) and rising up to USD 619 million (2019). At the same time, frameworks in regards to ESG have built up to approximately 10 while 735 ESG metrics derived from these 41 main indicators on performance (also known as KPI, Key Performance Indicator). On top of the common governance element or factor considered by the general public and specialists such as corruption or bribery, information disclosure, board independence or structure, corporate risk strategy and tax management, donation or involvement of politics, executive remuneration as well as shareholders’ interests protection; viewing of audits, rights of stakeholders, internal control system and company’s leadership will also be in the loop. Governance plays an essential part especially at the level of the country and government to make sure practices of good faith can be done for the subsequent two elements, social and environmental.
Energy efficiency is a good example within the environmental component, while it also factors in items such as responsible waste management, a renewable energy source of electricity, residue production, carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases as well as contribution to global warming. Climate change or climate variability has to do mainly on the weather pattern, ocean quality varying, ice sheet as well as land surfaces altering. Core reasons that climate will change could be due to natural factors but yet human activities accelerate it even faster, causing intense heat waves, storms, melting glacier, higher temperature of the ocean, sea-level elevation, frequent storms and many more. These will cause severe and occurring often of extreme weather events, destroying or harming living creatures of this planet. Corporations will be assessed from general aspects to any specific processes done by them compared to peers in the industry, such as deforestation without proper replanting, coal-burning as well as other fossil fuels including oil and gas. Retrieving this as an example is because it is considered the largest cause in heating up the earth due to the releasing of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Social criteria to look at is wide too but it shall be more of common sense since it is elaborating on fairness and right impact to the people. For instance, supply chain management, human rights, health and safety of workers, equal opportunities to colleagues, responsible product as well as social impacts from products and services offered by the organization. There are more and cannot be fully listed as it also involves employee engagement, labour standards, community relations, customer satisfaction, data protection, privacy shield, treatment of gender and diversity within the company. The social element is not uniform and it will be varied in different cities, countries or regions of this world, but yet, some obvious examples could be as simple as no child labour shall be employed and proper basic benefits to workers are required to offer.