Globally, major companies have addressed environment social, and governance (ESG) challenges central to their business strategies. These days, publicly traded companies spend heavily in the space, and that trend is only expected to continue. More than 60% of new companies incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies into their operations. Furthermore, more than half of the young businesses that have not yet made ESG investments want to do so within the next year.
Investing with an eye on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors is not just wise for every startup company but have become practically mandatory. Regardless of the field in which a startup operates, this article will examine ESG investing and explain why it is crucial.
ESG…What does it mean?
A sustainable company takes into account environmental, social, and governance factors. This means that ecological criteria look at things like a company’s effect on the environment. In terms of social standards, a company’s standing in the eyes of its staff, vendors, clients, and neighbors is of utmost importance. Finally, a company’s governance includes its norms, rules, and regulations.
When deciding on an ESG policy, it’s important to consider the nature of your company. When launching an online store, environmental considerations might include the packaging used and the total amount of carbon emissions produced by your supply chain. However, a manufacturing company might involve ingredients or material selection, energy efficiency, and trash management. If your company promotes ethical or environmentally friendly practices in product sourcing, or if you hire people who share these values.
What Is ESG Investing
Investment strategies prioritizing financial returns alongside good effects on environmental, social, and governance issues are collectively known as “ESG investing.” ESG, sometimes known as “sustainable” or “impact investing,” takes on several contemporary issues and aims to motivate good change on a global scale through financial investments. The ESG approach to investing encompasses a specific asset class and a way of looking at the market more broadly. In addition, companies and investors in the modern day increasingly consider their social responsibility while making financial decisions.
We will briefly summarize the three primary policy areas on which ESG investment focuses.
Environmental Issues: Issues of water, air, land, ecosystems, and human health are the focus of ESG investment, along with other environmental concerns. We must take measures to preserve our planet and lessen our influence on the climate. However, the nature of each company’s operation determines how it will handle this area. A manufacturing corporation, for instance, may choose to finance waste management and energy conservation initiatives.
Social Issues: Issues of workplace diversity and inclusion, as well as the quality of working conditions and the promotion of health, are at issue here. Employee output, as well as consumer familiarity and loyalty, both benefit from ESG investment. In addition, it creates a great deal of good publicity.
Governance Issues: As a result of globalization and the rise of social media, the public is paying closer attention than ever to corporate actions and policies. The ESG perspective stresses the importance of board responsibility and diversity, shareholder protection, and reporting and disclosure.
Despite their prominence in the business world, startups have been largely ignored in discussions about environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures. It’s fair to say that venture capital (VC) companies are now driving the conversation. While we have a top-down perspective on the markets and historical data on various startups, we lack a clear bottom-up global perspective, across geographies and funds, on startups’ viewpoints regarding ESG.
Therefore, what does ESG actually entail for startups? Should startups, often in a continual survival mode, adhere to the stringent ESG market metrics? Should they put off considering ESG till they have more money? Who are the many parties involved in helping startups succeed?
Why Early-Stage Companies Should Consider ESG Investments
Each new company today must adopt ESG-aware practices and put up maximum effort to fund them if it succeeds. The advantages of adopting such a perspective are too great to dismiss. So let’s examine how ESG investment helps new companies grow.
The ESG considerations of today’s investors are becoming increasingly important. Unsurprisingly, investors look for safe businesses to support, given that non-ESG-compliant startups face a higher risk of civil action, societal backlash, or regulatory sanctions. Also, LPs are pushing investors to back ESG-compliant startups as a risk-management strategy.
Last but not least, some investors are only concerned with environmental, social, and governance issues and are willing to invest significant capital into your startup. Logic dictates that they would only consider environmentally, socially, and ethically responsible companies.
Recruiting Top Talent and Building a Strong Company Image
When it comes to attracting and keeping top talent, ESG policies are unparalleled. However, the most important consideration is that the younger generation, who place a premium on ESG, currently makes up the biggest segment of the working population. Studies have shown, for instance, that over 40% of millennials would work for a firm solely due to its commitment to ESG principles like sustainability and diversity.
Better employee loyalty and output will result from a shared vision for the company’s future if your startup’s goals and staff are aligned.
Businesses that aren’t ESG-compliant are taking a big gamble in today’s commercial and social climate. Having no financial resources or an established brand, startups are more vulnerable to negative publicity or government sanctions. Furthermore, it is much simpler to establish ESG standards when your company is still on the smaller side.
One of the best methods for a young company to get favorable attention is to make ESG investments. Getting any kind of media at this point may help spread the word about your business and get more eyes on it. As an added bonus, ESG investments may help build credibility for your company and win over consumers.
Why ESG is here to stay
Numerous nations, including the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US), to mention a few, have passed laws mandating businesses to begin publishing their strategies for addressing sustainability. These are presented in disclosure frameworks, which investigate whether sustainability aspects may be applied to the organization and, in many cases, how the company can affect those variables. Companies may use these frameworks to reevaluate their management policies, the role of governing bodies, and the procedures used to identify sustainability risks and opportunities, all with an eye toward better aligning their sustainability strategy with their business model.
Listed and big corporations, financial institutions, asset managers, and banks will soon be required to create such sustainability reports. Although it is not now required of startups, many people assume that this will change quickly.
Because of the state of the economy, it is clear that new businesses should implement ESG rules early on. If you want your startup to survive and thrive in today’s market, you can’t do without them. What’s more, your startup is in danger if it doesn’t make an effort to be ESG-aware. These days, it’s not enough for a startup to just generate profits. The economic, social, and environmental (ESG) effects of ESG are too large to ignore.