Environmental Assessment

ESG Meaning

Over the past years, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Due Diligence has been getting more attention. Indeed, the need for due diligence at the corporate level is a sustainable long-term initiative. This blog enlightens some important aspects to better understand the ESG meaning. 

What is the ESG Meaning?

ESG Meaning in a Nutshell

ESG due diligence is a collection of criteria investors employ to improve their social responsibility.

Environment

Given the situation with climate change, investors are focusing on ways companies can improve their impact on the environment. Some environmental aspects of ESG tackle:

  • Energy resources management;
  • Policies on waste management;
  • And the company’s impact and actions towards net-zero emissions.
ESG meaning to investors

Social

The social aspect of ESG covers all management and employee relationships. This stake is about human rights due diligence, in its broadest definition. Some aspects are:

  • Human rights;
  • Worker’s rights;
  • Workplace policies;
  • Employee wellness and training;
  • And wages.

Governance

The third criterion of ESG is governance. It is about decision-making, accountability, inclusion, openness, and compliance. Hence, companies must make some of the following evaluations:

  • Board composition;
  • Financial report transparency;
  • Customer relations;
  • Relationship with stakeholders.
Governance - Enviropass

Sources of ESG Rules and Guidance

ESG is a recent amalgamation of already-existing topics. It is broad enough that the movement to make rules and policies around is continuous. Here are some of the guidelines and standards that form the basis of the ESG meaning:

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures - TCFD-OG

 

  • Climate Laws:
    • European Climate Law;
    • EU Emissions Trading System;
    • Climate Change Act of 2008.

 

  • Reporting Disclosure Requirements:
    • EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation;
    • Proposed Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Climate or Conflict Minerals Disclosure Rules;
    • UK Mandatory TFCD.

The ESG Meaning and Regulatory Requirements Worldwide

Regulations that encourage firms to do ESG due diligence have become more prevalent. Below are a few of them.

In the United States (US)

The US recently signed Acts to combat climate change to improve ESG due diligence. Some of them are the Climate Corporate Accountability Act (CCAA), the SEC, and additional restrictions for the TSCA. Those regulations tackle greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction for corporations. Moreover, the country initiated several guides to empower sustainability and human rights issues. Some of those are the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) and the Green Guide.

ESG meaning in various countries

In the United Kingdom (UK) and Europe

Europe has similar guidelines to empower ESG. For example, the European Commission proposed a European Union Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to regulate GHG. Another initiative is the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Initiative (CSRD), which aims for large companies to audit and disclose social and environmental information.

In Asia

Asia also presented initiatives over the past years. The Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) aims to regulate operations linked to depositories, participants, foreign investors, Etc. Another example is China’s Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), an official directive tackling environmental issues.

Challenges of ESG

As it is a complex and vast guideline, ESG presents its set of challenges. 

Difficulty to Quantify

Indeed, ESG is difficult to quantity. First, the standards differ from one country to another. Second, it might be challenging to measure ESG risk-taking, especially in economic terms. Indeed, companies must acquire quality data from their suppliers within complex value chains, which is an intricate task as the data is not easy to gather.

No Unified Metrics

ESG is challenging to measure. As every company worldwide has its means and ways to assess ESG, there is no consistency in the criteria. Hence, ESG risks and opportunities assessment for companies can be challenging.

ESG Opportunity

Access to ESG Information

As mentioned above, access to clear ESG information in the supply chain is a complex task. Additionally, given the variations in information sharing from one jurisdiction to another, some providers might not offer transparent information. Hence, it limits the process of due diligence.

Tools for aBusiness to Achieve ESG

Step-by-Step Approach

Several businesses have created programs to help with ESG. For example, Conservice ESG is a group developing tools for this purpose. Indeed, a step-by-step program is available to improve due diligence.

Consider International Guidance

As mentioned above, companies can rely on voluntary standards as the guiding framework. For example, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct (OECD Guidance) are already in place. They can be applied at the national and regional levels to evaluate and manage risks.

ESG meaning

Ensure Compliance and Maintain Oversight

Businesses should do their best to develop measurable corporate policies. Indeed, they should build their governance around ESG through their operational system. Additionally, continuous monitoring and audits of the value chain help to achieve ESG due diligence. ESG for organizations relies heavily on governance, compliance, and standards management.

Conclusion about ESG Meaning

ESG meaning is summarized in its long-from – Environmental, Social, and Governance Due Diligence. Improving due diligence at the corporate level is mandatory for a sustainable business. There are regional, national, and international tools in place that can guide to achieving ESG due diligence. 

Do you have more questions about the ESG meaning and how to demonstrate due diligence? Contact Enviropass!