As part of our summer learning series on ESG, this initial session outlined the broad strokes of the ESG movement and how it pertains to – and adds value – to organizations committed to a better future. Read the recap below and access the workshop resources here.

ESG (which stands for Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) has been quickly adopted by some of the most influential and disruptive companies in the world. In particular, ESG has become associated with investor expectations and approaches to evaluating sustainable businesses. ESG doesn’t just improve the world. It’s good for business and helps with driving access to capital, increasing business efficiency, giving the ‘purpose-driven brand’ competitive advantage, employing risk management, and attracting and retaining top talent. 

There is a wide variety of terminology used to represent ESG, but it’s important that companies focus on issues that are relevant to their team and investors, and that their ESG goals and terms are defined in a way that key stakeholders can understand.

To help us get an even clearer understanding of these terms, Kelly Gallo of BSR, Danielle Conkling of Silicon Valley Bank, and Corrie Conrad of Box facilitated a special workshop for Pledge 1% members. Here are three takeaways to help companies get started from the event:

Step 1: Articulate Purpose

To close potential sustainability value and exceptions gaps, company leaders should take steps to integrate sustainability into their purpose and strategic plan. Ask yourself how your chosen ESGs are reflective of what your company wants moving forward. Share this plan with all stakeholders, so everyone involved understands how companies with sustainable businesses drive success. 

Step 2: Identify and Strategize on Material ESG Issues

Conducting a business-specific materiality assessment can help companies manage their social and environmental impacts and identify the top issues they need to manage, even with limited dedicated resources. Organize interviews with investors and ask direct questions to figure out what issues are important to your business and society at large. 

Step 3: Communicate Your ESG Approach

Companies accessing public capital markets should aim to provide ESG data that is robust and actionable to investors. Set a baseline for decision-useful information and start a landing page that links to existing material you may already have on your work towards a more sustainable future.

To learn more, watch the full recording of the conversation below. Don’t forget to join us for the next session on our ESG Summer Learning Series!