Don’t forget the ‘S’ in ESG

Published: Mar 24th, 2022

Updated: Jan 25th, 2023

People can have a tendency to forget about the ‘S’ in ESG. For a business to stand out amongst its competitors and not get left behind, the S (social) also needs to be addressed.  

When people hear the phrase ‘ESG’ there is a tendency to jump straight to the E (environment) and forget about the rest. However, for a business to stand out amongst its competitors and not get left behind, the S (social) also needs to be addressed.  

In order for a business to truly meet a successful ESG agenda, the E, S and the G need to be equally considered and work in tandem. As investors and customers increasing spend their money in places that align with their own values, ignoring ESG could have dramatically negative consequences.  

Diversity and Inclusion

Environmental policies are just one-third of the ESG picture. For the modern workforce, the social implications and social values held by a business are critically important, for example, championing diversity through hiring and workplace policies. 

Deloitte’s Millennial Survey revealed that diversity is now integral to workplace loyalty, with candidates saying they are more likely to stay with an employer for over 5 years if there is diversity in the workplace. It has also been suggested that diverse teams generate almost 20% more revenue than ones that are not. 

Awards such as ‘The Times Top 50 Employers of Women’, ‘The Stonewall Global Workplace Equality Index’ or the ‘British Diversity Awards’ are a great way to demonstrate to both current and prospective employees your firm’s core social values and show you to be a diverse employer. 

There are other ways to communicate your diversity initiatives – supporting specific charities, sharing resources and info on social, having a policy on your website. 

Flexible working  

Since the pandemic, another aspect of a business’s social credentials is the opportunity to retain flexible working as the ‘new normal’.  

Four out of five bosses expect their companies to keep a form of working from home in place, with 79% of leaders who were asked in a poll by the Institute of Directors, plan to adopt it in the long-term. For many, the option to work from home when it is convenient for them is now a driver when applying for a job 

You can find our hybrid working blog here for a deeper dive into the benefits of this approach to working culture. For example, saving time by missing out on long commutes to and from the office. For some, this has created a better work-life balance.  

Giving back  

Giving back to the local community or a local charity is a great way for a business to demonstrate its commitment to the S in ESG and corporate social responsibility. 

Donating time and money to charity should not be seen as a drain on resources, rather it should be viewed as a way to help others in the local community, whilst generating brand awareness around something positive and demonstrating your values.

This can also help to differentiate your business from competitors and thus attract new customers, generate important conversations and shows that you are in touch with the wider social issues at play in the local area. 

Here, we could mention how the support of charities should be authentic, not just for business benefits – the most important thing about it is that we can help to create a better world – or something along those lines. 

There are many ways to give back including providing volunteering time for your employees or mentoring services to other local start-up businesses or young people looking for experience. You can also offer to work with local community centres or schools to help inspire and engage young people. What benefits does this bring to employees? Team building, being part of a community, demonstrating the need to play a part in positive change etc 

At Sapience, we specialise in ESG communications and digital marketing providing consulting services which help our clients establish themselves as agents of positive change in their sectors. For more information, contact us. 

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