ESG assesses a company’s responsibility towards the environment, social impact, and good governance. The notion of sustainability is becoming a key issue. Interview with Youssef Nohra, Content Manager, who specializes in environmental and community issues (BlueKanGo).
Where does ESG come from?
ESG has its origins in a progressive awareness, dictated by the context of a changing world. Often identified only with environmental issues, sustainable development covers a much more global scope.
The UN has adopted a definition that will remain the international reference:
“Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations”.
In 1992, the Rio Summit identified three fundamental pillars: environmental, social, and economic.
Until now, non-financial reporting in Europe has mainly targeted listed companies. To assume their social responsibility, whether on a mandatory or voluntary basis, they have been able to rely on multiple frameworks, such as:
- the UN’s sustainable development objectives
- the ISO 26000 standard
An important step has just been taken: On November 28, the Council of the European Union approved the CSRD directive, which will make sustainability reporting mandatory for companies.
This non-financial reporting, initiated in 2014, supports Europe’s desire to be the first climate-neutral continent. The reports will have to be attested by independent third-party organizations.
Who can drive ESG in organizations?
Administrative and financial directors seem to be on the front line.
They could usefully be supported by Quality, Safety, and Environment managers.
Indeed, they are familiar with the use of reporting tools and already deal with subjects directly related to CSR and ESG: safety and quality of life at work, waste management, greenhouse gases, etc.
Moreover, based on their high level of experience regarding risk assessments, they are able to assess the consequences of the company’s activity on its environment and vice versa.
A process approach can be implemented with a designated pilot, a strong managerial commitment from the management, and support services in terms of resources, particularly information systems
Why a digital tool to manage CSR/ESG policy?
The directive will require the production of numerous pre-setted and key indicators. Similarities and even convergence between European and international standards may also be useful.
The quality and sincerity of the information produced are essential.
They require a transversal treatment of a lot of data that cannot be satisfied with a spreadsheet and a word processor.
A digital solution is a precious help, even indispensable. Indeed, the great difficulty is to collect the data, analyze it, and format it automatically.
A dedicated tool is also the possibility of self-assessment in relation to the standards and managing its CSR policy in a collaborative and transversal way.
Clearly, ESG is a multiform assessment criterion for CSR policies. For more and more companies, they must be sincere, reliable, and sustainable.
The near future of ESG is, therefore, to be based on a common reference framework, to respect it, to prove it, and to make it known!