top of page

Is it time to leave the term 'ESG' behind? | Purposeful Connections

Sharp perspectives. Deep expertise. Cutting-edge innovations. Purposeful Connections is your bi-weekly source for the latest in purpose and ESG. Subscribe here.

This past weekend, I picked up my copy of the Wall Street Journal to find a special section on ESG. What initially caught my eye was the front page story, headlined: "A Progressive’s Case for Getting Rid of 'ESG'." The title is somewhat misleading, because the author is in support of ditching the term, but not the practice. The subhead reads: "It's fine to incorporate environmental, social and governance considerations into decision making. But not if we're ignoring other important factors." Ultimately, the author is arguing that ESG shouldn't be a "distraction" from critical business functions like strategy, productivity, innovation, and brand, which "are critical for long-term performance..." ESG, when done authentically, should supplement and support these business functions. In the best case scenario, ESG commitments can inspire and accelerate things like innovation and productivity. "What matters," the author concludes, "is whether it's something that improves long-term value rather than whether it's called ESG." I couldn't agree more. Read more in the ESG section in the Wall Street Journal.

The best workplace benefit? Extra life. By equipping Americans with better health and wellness benefits, the average lifespan could increase up to 19 years. A report from Deloitte states that US employers are positioned to make this a reality, given that more than half of Americans are covered by an employer-sponsored health insurance policy. Health and longevity go beyond just access to healthcare, though. Having a safe workplace is vital, and employees with access to benefits like mental health services, gym memberships, "wellness subsidies," nutrition coaches, and time off to recharge are even better positioned to live longer, healthier lives. // FortuneAmericans could live an extra 19 years—if they pick the right employer // DeloitteHow employers can spark a movement to help us live longer and healthier lives

The 'burden' of ESG. From the water cooler to Wall Street, business leaders are still grappling with the politicization of ESG. In workplaces, employees are "buckling" under the weight of ESG and CSR expectations, found a survey from ACCP. The report also found that the terminology around ESG and CSR work is shifting, with "corporate social responsibility" getting the plurality of votes. Among tech companies, "social impact" won out. On Wall Street, finance leaders are increasingly making decisions based on ESG factors, but avoiding the term. Our advice? Continue your long-term, strategic commitments to stakeholders and the environment, but don't worry about what label you put on those commitments. // PoliticoESG and CSR are taking their toll on the workplace // BloombergBankers hate saying 'ESG' but are hardwiring it into finance // ACCP4th Annual CSR Insights Survey

Good for employees, good for business. Seventy-one percent of CEOs believe a strong culture is a key driver of financial performance. Additionally, CEOs are increasingly focusing on employee mindset and behavior to increase retention rates and boost performance. More than half of executives say their main reasons for focusing on culture is to bolster employee engagement. // HR DiveCEOs have noticed: People-centric strategies are good for the bottom line

In it for the long term. Companies with a strong corporate purpose that emphasizes harmony among a wider set of stakeholders are more likely to create long-term value, according to research from Wharton. These companies are able to attract and retain better employees, build stronger relationships with customers and suppliers, and gain the support of governments and communities. // WhartonThe long-term business case for corporate purpose

Stand up, speak out. This is what both the American public and employees expect from companies, according to new research from Weber Shandwick. A majority of Americans (82%) expect companies to take public positions on critical social issues, even if they are controversial. Sixty-five percent of employees believe companies have a "responsibility" to speak up even on sensitive issues—and employee satisfaction is higher at companies that do so. // Weber Shandwick'Speak Up,' Americans demand of corporate leaders

Listen to this episode and others here. Did you know the global agriculture sector needs to produce more food by 2050 than the last 8,000 years combined? Tune in to hear Kim Olson, CCO of Land O’Lakes discuss how this farmer- and retailer-owned cooperative is leading the charge in sustainable agriculture practices, supporting farmers worldwide, and creating a stronger food supply chain.


bottom of page