3 ways global leaders can prioritize ESG impact

Article by Suzanne DiBianca at World Economic Forum

Image by Anders Jildén on Unsplash

 

The global community is facing many crises, including an on-going pandemic, the tragic consequences of centuries of racial inequality, and a climate emergency. But this year will also bring continued opportunities for corporations to work with governments and individuals to rebuild and create a fairer, more sustainable future for all.

The challenge ahead? To keep momentum going toward a ‘triple bottom line’‘ mentality and maintain accountability as adoption grows.

Stakeholder capitalism, a business model that sees business leaders as trustees for society, has evolved. It is more than just a term first proposed by Professor Klaus Schwab in the founding of the World Economic Forum 50 years ago. According to one recent survey, nearly 90 percent of customers expect corporations to meet a higher set of standards than just shareholder return.

Doing good is good for business and corporate decision makers have seen how impact strategies create positive flywheel effects, fuelling growth, building positive brand reputation, boosting customer engagement and forging trust with stakeholders. It is even a smart tool for employee recruitment and retention, with 70% of employees wanting to work for purpose-driven companies.

As a result, leaders in corporate and political contexts around the globe are weaving environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact deep into their cultures, strategies and missions. Today, 90% of the S&P 500 produce ESG reports, and Morgan Stanley declared that ESG will define the next decade of investing.