ESG is now more than just following the regulations and giving a percentage of the company’s revenue back to society in order to adhere to the law.
Companies need to take conscious actions by bringing drastic changes in their everyday activity and ensuring that all the stakeholders that the company associates itself with are also operating sustainably and not involved in any unethical practices that could harm the environment or the community. The Industrial revolution 4.0 is about shifting from a sole profit-making objective to becoming an integral part of society by creating an organization where all stakeholders benefit as well as making our world a better place to live.
As per the CRISIL ESG Risk Assessment report of 2022, out of 586 Indian companies, only 14 were placed in the ‘leadership category, whereas 73 falls in the ‘weak’, ‘below average’, and ‘adequate’ categories. Further 108 companies were in the ‘strong’ category. As mentioned in the report though there has been an improvement from the previous year, it is still not good enough.
Companies need to be intentional with their efforts by creating an ecosystem where community, business, and environment thrive and at the same time influence the industry to become more sustainable by changing the practices that are not contributing to the well-being of the society. The CRISIL study showed that Indian companies’ performance in the environment parameter has been weaker than in governance and social parameter, which is due to the inability of companies to cut their emissions. It is only when companies operate considering the environment as one of the stakeholders that there will be any possibility to bring about large-scale change and adapt as well as innovate alternatives that are environmentally friendly.
It is important to tell your company’s ESG story because it conveys to the clients, vendors, competitors, and investors the way your organization operates. It communicates to them the changes you are bringing to offset and reduce the negative effects on the environment that are unintentionally caused by your business. Communicating that your company cares not just by brand activism but by implementing policies that are sensitive towards different communities, delivering relatively eco-friendly products, and bringing about a meaningful change helps to transform the narrative surrounding your industry on how certain operations need to be carried out.
Telling the story of the company’s consciousness concerning their actions and how it impacts internal and external stakeholders, positions the company as responsible and at the same time holds the company accountable in the future. Taking ownership of how specific unsustainable industry-accepted processes can be changed for the better and the willingness to put efforts to do the same issues confidence amongst people for the organization as well as makes the company a change bearer.
When a company speaks about ESG, it is important to walk the talk, and have an authoritative tone by simultaneously being open to accepting past mistakes, and taking suggestions & advice from the experts. By effectively telling your company’s ESG story, the organization is furthering the conversation of ESG, placing itself as an adaptable and sensitive organization, and changing the world for the better. No company can reap the fruits of a good reputation without changing its company culture and policies. It is essential to embed the right ESG practices into core operations.