Sustainability dimensions: ESG – Environmental, Social & Governance

ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. These dimensions are part of sustainable development.

In 2015, all United Nations members signed up to Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda). The 2030 Agenda seeks to improve life for current and future generations, particularly for those who are more vulnerable or described by the 2030 Agenda as being “the furthest behind”. It sets out 17 sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030. These goals encompass environmentally, social and economic sustainable development.

Increasingly, governance is being used within the private sector and government agencies to include Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) non-financial information alongside economic. The governing responsibilities of directors and managers with their ESG planning, measuring and reporting are becoming more significant in the decision-making of businesses and organisations, especially over the last decade.

Organisations and businesses are now focused on expanding their ESG planning, implementation and reporting processes and impacts. This is because funders and investors expect companies and organisations to govern for and disclose relevant environmental, social and governance (ESG) information they can trust and understand.

In 2017, the European Union (EU) passed a directive for mandatory ESG reporting by large companies, that can be audited. In 2019, this reporting directive was extended for climate-related information. Aotearoa New Zealand is underway on passing legislation and guidance on climate risk and ESG planning and reporting.  Globally, this is an emerging trend as countries, regions, communities, organizations and businesses face climate change, inequalities, resilience challenges and opportunities that need more transformative approaches, behaviour change and action. Better insights and adaptive responses are crucial to building a fairer and more sustainable future for current and future generations. Find out more about our sustainability courses & support.