The Relationship Between ESG and Data: Social

We must raise the standard of living for all people who inhabit this planet if we are to attain real sustainability.

Over the last decade, ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) investors have placed a high priority on the environment due to severe climate-related disasters, unpredictable weather patterns, stricter regulations governing greenhouse gas emissions, and growing consumer demand for renewable and sustainable energy.

However, the COVID-19 crisis marked a turning point in the debate over the social component of ESG. The worldwide epidemic exposed the weaknesses in our society, such as the widening income gaps, the lack of affordable housing, the value of maintaining our connection to nature, the gender and diversity gap, and the rise in mental illness.

A truly sustainable business is now measured by the environmental and social benefits it delivers, and the revenue it can create through sustainable operations. Data sits at the centre of this.

Gary Chua, Chief Operating Officer, Asia & Japan, Syniti

The Social aspect of ESG

How can a business manage its interactions with its employees, the society in which it conducts business and the political landscape? The social component of ESG and sustainable investment revolve around this key subject.

The social horizon has steadily widened as the commercial landscape of the twenty-first century changed and globalization produced businesses and markets that are more linked and dependent on one another. Social issues influence every stakeholder in a company, and a firm’s capacity to prevent damaging its connections and reputation can be essential to preserving a long-term competitive edge.

Factors of the social pillar

The treatment of employees, boycotts, labor violations, and product recalls are only a few examples of social variables. These problems are many, complex, and can have an immediate effect on all of a company’s stakeholders, from employees and clients to suppliers and local communities. A company’s capacity to sustain wholesome, favorable, just, and ethical relationships with these stakeholders is essential to its success, particularly if that company’s success depends on the public’s confidence.

How does data impact the social aspect? 

According to social data. Social data emphasizes data on workplace diversity, gender equity, human rights, and other topics.

1. Public health and social determinants

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that significant public health emergencies may impact every type of organization, every sector of the economy, and every region of the world. Businesses’ chances of surviving and succeeding can be greatly influenced by how they respond to and solve issues in public health. Health equality, often known as social determinants of health, is a related topic. All businesses must consider how housing, financial stability, and social capital, among other things, affect chronic disease, worker productivity, and customer health.

2. Racial equality

There are other factors at play here than risk and reputation. Businesses must prioritize diversity in their workforce, combat racism in society at large, and provide their goods and services in an equitable manner to all communities if they want to compete and expand. Sales, corporate relationships, governmental regulations, worker productivity, and competitive positioning are all impacted.

3. Income inequality and financial inclusion

According to the Brookings Institute, 50 million people, or around 44% of all US families are classified as low-income. That is a sizable market sector. According to Pew Research Center, 71 percent of the world’s population still lives in poverty or on an income of less than $10 per day, making it even more relevant on a global scale. Companies must be able to develop strategies to involve these underserved groups in the economy and broaden the appeal of their goods and services if they are to develop and succeed.

4. Workforce development

It’s crucial for every sector of the economy and every business to build a broad talent pipeline. It has a significant negative influence on company growth as well as favourable societal effects. Without qualified technicians, Cummins, one of the biggest producers of diesel engines, cannot provide service to its clients in Africa. Without graduates from public schools with STEM backgrounds, Boeing cannot produce more airplanes. Additionally, over three million trade skill positions will remain unfilled until 2028, according to Generation T, a project of Lowe’s Companies, which will have a substantial impact on the expansion of their business. Growing the workforce has a direct impact on the expansion of practically every organization, especially when underprivileged communities are involved.

Increasing the prominence of the social aspect 

Markets must rely on straightforward, trustworthy data in order to operate effectively. However, the data must indicate something. Statistics that are meaningless have no impact. It’s time for S to have the same market worth as E and G. Better data are the only thing getting in the way.

To increase the significance of S to the markets, here are two practical measures that businesses can take note of:

1. Companies should start reporting on S impact data consistently

The development of standards must begin from scratch. There’s no reason to hold off until rating services catch up or standard setters modify their practices. Companies have an independent fiduciary obligation to measure and communicate important S information to their shareholders regardless of these players. Businesses should begin freely measuring, reporting, and having their S effects independently validated.

2. To increase the value of their data, ESG rating agencies, standard-setting organizations, and data providers should collaborate with a specialist S data provider.

Due to its complexity, S impact data cannot be fully represented by a one-dimensional, box-ticking survey. Specialized taxonomies, questionnaires, and external verification are needed to provide reliable, high-quality S data. This will also produce a completely new level of ESG S analysis, which academic scholars and champions of shared values have long pushed for. Rating agencies and other organizations may now assess a company’s competitive edge, growth potential, employee resiliency, access to new markets, increased productivity along the value chain, and improved operational environment using this S impact data.

Ultimately, organizations need to recognize that data is an asset for their organization, not only in driving business outcomes, but in informing sustainability efforts as well. As the worlds of business success and sustainability become increasingly intertwined, enterprises can no longer afford to let sustainability take a back seat.

Han Chon, Managing Director, ASEAN, Nutanix