Businesses must go beyond surface-level indicators and embrace a hollistic approach that integrates sustainability and social responsibility into their core objectives in order to make genuine progress in ESG impact. How to accomplish all of this? Read our article and find out!
ESG integration into business strategy
First of all, the ESG journey of a company should start with the integration of sustainability and social responsibility into the organization’s core business plan (see the figure below). This entails aligning ESG objectives with overall company goals and implementing them into decision-making processes at all levels and throughout the organisation. The ESG strategy’s priorities as well as the underlying management structure and tools required to implement the strategy are driven by the business strategy, allowing the ESG strategy to help the organisation accomplish its business goals.
Transparent ESG reporting
Secondly, companies need to make sure that their ESG reporting and disclosure are transparent, as it is critical for ESG impact improvement. They should also aim for providing relevant, accurate and comprehensive information on their ESG performance, which icludes disclosing ESG metrics, targets and and progress in a consistent and easy-to-understand format. To build trust with stakeholders, enhance accountability and informed decision making, transparent reporting is crucial, however, companies also need to make sure that their claims are geniune and supported by data, thus, cannot be accused of greenwashing. The following graphic shows the different types of greenwashing, which is becoming more and more prevalent. Companies can ensure that sustainability becomes a major driver of long-term success by including ESG issues into strategic planning.
Six types of greenwashing
- Greenshifting: When businesses put the responsibility on the consumer and imply that they are at fault.
- Greenhushing: The practice of corporate management teams under-reporting or concealing their sustainability credentials in order to avoid investor scrutiny
- Greencrowding: It relies on safety in numbers and is based on the idea that you may hide in a crowd to avoid detection. It is expected that the group will move at the speed of the slowest when developing sustainability policy.
- Greenrinsing: The practice of a corporation changing its ESG goals frequently before they are accomplished.
- Greenlighting: When a corporation uses its communications (including ads) to deflect attention away from other environmentally harmful actions by highlighting a particular green aspect of its operations or products.
- Greenlabelling: When marketers claim something is green or sustainable, but a deeper look reveals that their claims are false.