5 Ideas For an Impactful ESG Strategy


As we discussed in the last post, your commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance matters to your employees, now more than ever. Crucially, it is also a decisive factor for investors, partners, and the general public. What you say and (more importantly) what you do in terms of ESG plays into your reputation and your public image in a big way, influencing prospective customers, investors, and talent.

Ultimately, ESG is about how you behave as an organisation and how you can prove it:

Environmental – How your activities relate to the natural environment, and what you’re doing as an organisation to care for the world around us.

Social – Your impact on the people involved in all areas of your operations, and all stages of your supply chain. This includes your employees, customers, suppliers, partners, and local communities.

Governance – Your leadership structure, decision-making processes and accountability framework, internal controls and safeguards, and the interaction between executives, advisory boards and shareholders.

So how can you devise and implement an actionable ESG strategy with measurable outcomes? Here are some of our tips:

1. Get up to Speed With Compliance

As a baseline, you should stay ahead of the game when it comes to ESG-related standards and regulations that apply to your organisation. You can refer to frameworks like the UN Sustainability Goals, and the SASB Standards for sustainability reporting in your specific industry.

2. Take an Energy & Sustainability Inventory

Carry out an assessment of things like your energy efficiency and carbon footprint as an organisation to get a clear picture of the most significant areas for change. You can use global frameworks such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol to measure and manage your emissions. You could then try to work with all parties involved in your supply chain to consolidate and optimise for efficiency and sustainability.

3. Make ESG a Priority When Hiring, Partnering or Investing

Assess the diversity, equity and inclusion across your organisation, and consider implementing an HR strategy that focuses on more marginalised or less represented groups. You should also use your ESG strategy to guide you in making socially and environmentally conscious decisions when it comes to partnering with others and accepting investment. Be intentional about how you put your teams together, and discerning about who you do business with – across the board.

4. Be Responsible in Your Use of Technology

These days, businesses can benefit from a mind-boggling array of digital media platforms, data tracking and analytics tools, and algorithms for targeted advertising. At the same time, it’s never been more important to put safeguards and protocols in place to assure users that you are being ethical and responsible in your use of digital technology, AI, and personal data. This is a crucial way of backing up your commitment to ESG and being who you claim to be as an organisation.

5. Charitable Giving & Volunteering

Finally, take opportunities to show up and get involved in your local community. Organise volunteer days or events for you and your teams to support local causes, and contribute to community events and initiatives where you can. Schedule these in to your organisational calendar and set targets for how much you want to give annually – whether that’s money, time, or other resources. This benefits your people, your organisational culture, your brand and – most importantly – your communities.

A meaningful ESG commitment will involve a clear strategy, with tangible actions, assigned responsibilities, realistic targets, and measurable outcomes. You should be able to give rationale for your stated actions and targets, and use your ESG strategy to guide other decisions across the organisation. The more creative and innovative you are with your ESG initiatives, the more this can become an important differentiator that sets you apart from others – as long as you see them through!

For more about ESG and employee engagement, you can download our free guide.

Master Engagement Throughout the Employee Lifecycle