Over the past few years, environmental, social and governance (ESG) has gained considerable momentum amongst businesses and core corporate strategies; so much so that it’s become somewhat difficult to separate the buzzword from the reality.
The events of the past year and the impact of the pandemic has meant that businesses need to implement an effective and financially sound ESG strategy not only in order to future-proof themselves from any potential challenges and hurdles, but to attract and retain employees too.
The challenge, however, arises when businesses are stuck in the mindset of keeping ESG as an afterthought, or a nice-to-have, rather than a necessity. Particularly in the current climate, and especially after the recent IPCC report stating that climate change is “code red for humanity”, corporations must ensure that ESG is at the fore of their strategies and a real driving force in all business decisions.
Putting ESG at the core
For many businesses, staying afloat during the pandemic was all about making meticulous financial decisions to ward off going bust – but now, as they trudge forward and emerge from the other side, the challenges are more concerned with responses to global issues such as sustainability and environmental consciousness.
Whilst the importance of ESG was becoming more widely recognised before the pandemic, businesses are taking it significantly more seriously than ever before especially when it comes to meeting the current societal and corporate expectations of employees, partners, and investors. According to the HSBC ‘Made for the Future’ report, most investors nowadays are placing grave importance on responses to sustainability and climate change pledges, meaning that ESG now ought to be a legitimate business strategy and one that’s atop of the agenda.
Conscious corporations and the competitive advantage
Previous research and reports have found that millennial employees are likely to be on board with a pay cut if it meant that their workplace aligned with their values. The pandemic has also been a huge learning curve for many businesses, too, when it comes to values and curating a company culture that supports and benefits all. Ultimately, therefore, companies need to be mindful of their own environmental responsibility if they’re to hire and retain employees.
Therefore, putting ESG at the crux of business strategies enables workplaces to be doing their bit for sustainability, but it also gives them the competitive edge. Prospective employees are more drawn to company values and corporate socio-political stances more now than ever before, so if businesses are looking to thrive, they need to keep ahead of the curve fast. After-all, creating a positive company culture and retaining employees long-term speaks volumes about employee engagement, motivation, and productivity, and by extension; quality of work and business success.
Bolstering ESG with PR and tech innovation
At the start of the pandemic, we effectively witnessed years of technological development being concertinaed into a matter of weeks; both tech innovation and ESG strategies experienced a surge in development and a newfound position of importance in day-to-day ways of working and corporate thinking.
As such, building an effective and financially viable ESG strategy goes hand-in-hand with new technological developments and an effective PR strategy, together creating and unlocking a whole world of possibilities and potential successes. When executed effectively, PR can help to enable ESG aims, ultimately fulfilling and promoting ESG outcomes.
When perfected and rolled out effectively and efficiently, it’ll not only set businesses apart from others, but it’s also like gold for potential investors.
If you would like to find out more about how PR could raise your profile in the media, why not get in touch with a member of our award-winning team today.