'ESG’ is a hot topic amongst a range of stakeholders. These include governments, regulators, industry bodies, the United Nations and many more. It is rare that there is such widespread agreement on issues from such a variety of stakeholders. ESG is definitely something we can all agree on. The projected increase in the next 10 years of ESG investments indicates that all stakeholders are on board with the three pillars of ESG - "Environment", "Safety" and "Governance".
Currently, what ESG means can vary by company, jurisdiction, industry or even organisation’s risk appetite. In fact, one of the key criticisms of ESG in general, is there is so much information out there but not much guidance about the nitty gritty of the process.
As an organisation at any stage of your ESG journey it can get overwhelming. The mainstream adoption of ESG is new and there are no mandated standards with ESG reporting, which adds to the confusion.
To help ease some of this confusion we have curated for you a list of resources that we think are MUST reads for anyone who is interested in making a ESG framework with impact. This starts from the history of where it started write down to keeping up to date with the latest trends.
Understanding where it all started with the Principles of Responsible Investment
The United Nations Principles of Responsible investment often referred to as PRI was created in 2005 by the United Nations general secretary, Kofi Annan. This is generally considered as the birth place of ESG in its current form.
The goal of the PRI was to encourage asset owners to invest responsibly using the principles as their North Star metric. In 2005, there were 30 signatories to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment. Now they are over 2,300 Asset Owners who are signatories this convention.
We recommend this site and learning more about PRI principles in general. They offer training on the principles, free guides and educational webinars. They also have several case studies from large Asset owners about how they are taking their ESG program from one to 100.
Resources on Worker Safety and how they tie into the Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015 the United Nations choose 17 sustainable development goals that they wanted countries and businesses to focus on to create what is considered to be a sustainable and ethical future. Yet, the ‘S’ has not gained much attention over the years. Labour Relations and Occupation Health and Safety is essential element of 'S' pillar of ESG. Any business or organisation will tell you about the importance of worker health and safety and that it is a big part of staying in business.
To help organisations with understanding how occupational health and safety ties in to an ESG program, the United States regulatory body OSHA, issued a report called “Sustainable in the Workplace: A new approach ". OSHA stated that by focusing on the ‘Environmental' part of organisations are missing out on opportunities to advance their ESG framework. This Report provides insight on how to apply worker safety into your ESG program.
The IFSR Working Group Paper on Change
The International Financial Reporting Standards is a non-profit group that recommends accounting standards. They work with various stakeholders that helps codify international accounting standards across the globe. Currently there are 160 countries being signatories to the IFSR framework work.
It is important to note that this Paper is about Climate Change related disclosures. But, we still recommend it as it goes through suggestions and guidance on what they considered is best practice for governance, risk management, strategy, metrics and targets.
Lately, a number of countries have created legislation around climate related disclosures. In 2021 our neighbour, New Zealand passed world first legislation requiring publicly listed insurers and financial institutions to provide mandatory reporting of Climate change risk.
CDSB Framework for Reporting Social and Environment Information
CDSB is an international consortium of business and environmental organisations formed at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in 2007.
Its mission is to provide regulators, business and industry bodies with suggested frameworks and information about how to incorporate environmental reporting in a way similar to the requirements around financial disclosures.
This report suggests a framework on ways to measure your Social and Environment information and provides guidance around how to report this in a transparent way.
ESG Insider: A podcast by S & P Global
If you prefer audio options – I can’t recommend the ESG Insider Podcast enough.
The podcast really focuses on the whole spectrum of ESG. The episodes range from discussing the UK’s gender parity initiatives to new technologies in sustainable shipping.
If you want a well-rounded approach to ESG this a great resources and discusses the various building blocks to a great ESG program.
Conserve ESG - for all the educational resources you can want.
Conserve ESG (formerly known as GobyInc) Is a platform that helps companies manage their ESG programs. Now, you don’t need to buy or sign up to the product to get value from the value from GobyInc's content.
They have produced a plethora of information to help you understand ESG. These include free webinars and e-books that are easy to read and understand.
An ESG program is a fantastic way to show your stakeholders that you share their values. But making sure your program is effective, transparent and meets its goals is an important part of that. By reading these resources you’ll get to know how the history of ESG, best practice in metrics, ,reporting and the future trends we expect to see.
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