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Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is a term used to describe the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and ethical impact of an investment in a company or business. In recent years, ESG has become increasingly important to investors and businesses alike, as more and more people are looking to make responsible, sustainable choices when it comes to their investments. According to the latest Refinitiv Lipper data, a record $649 billion dollars flowed into ESG-focused funds globally in November 2021.

The global economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this has had a major impact on the way that businesses approach ESG. Many companies have had to reassess their operations and prioritise the health and safety of their employees and communities, leading to a renewed focus on social and environmental issues.

Historically, ESG has been an important factor in the global economy, but it has not always been at the forefront of investors’ minds. In the past, the primary focus was on financial performance, and ESG was seen as a secondary consideration. However, this has changed in recent years, as investors have become more aware of the long-term impact of their investments on the environment and society. One of the key drivers of this shift has been the increasing awareness of the need for sustainable development. As the global population continues to grow, there is a growing recognition of the need to protect the planet’s natural resources and ensure that future generations have access to clean water, air, and food. According to PwC, 76% of consumers say that they will stop buying from companies that treat the environment, employees, and their community poorly. This has led to a growing demand for ESG-focused investments, as more and more people look to align their investments with their values. This has been reflected in the rising popularity of sustainable and responsible investment funds, as well as the growth of the green bond market. The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to accelerate this trend, as companies have had to prioritise the health and safety of their employees and communities. Many businesses have also had to reassess their operations in light of the crisis, leading to a renewed focus on ESG.

Overall, it is clear that the future of ESG in the global economy is bright. As more and more people become aware of the need for sustainable development, there will be a growing demand for ESG-focused investments. This will create opportunities for companies that are committed to responsible, sustainable business practices, and will help to drive positive change in the global economy.

Adopting an ESG approach can provide a number of financial benefits for companies. First, an ESG strategy can help a company manage risk and improve its reputation. By prioritising environmental and social responsibility, a company can avoid potential fines and legal issues that can arise from unethical or unsustainable business practices. This can also improve the company’s public image and customer trust, leading to increased sales and revenue.

Second, ESG strategies can lead to cost savings for a company. For example, implementing sustainable practices can reduce a company’s use of natural resources, leading to lower energy and water costs. McKinsey states that operating profits can be affected by as much as 60% by ESG strategies. Additionally, investing in renewable energy and other environmentally-friendly technologies can result in long-term cost savings.

Third, an ESG approach can make a company more attractive to investors. As more and more investors prioritise ethical and sustainable investing, companies with strong ESG practices can benefit from increased investment and financing opportunities. This can help a company access capital to fund growth and expansion. In conclusion, adopting an ESG strategy can provide a number of financial benefits for a company. It can help manage risk, lead to cost savings, and make the company more attractive to investors. This can ultimately result in increased revenue and financial success for the company.

In conclusion, adopting an ESG strategy is not only beneficial for the environment and society, but it can also provide significant financial benefits for companies. By prioritising sustainability and social responsibility, companies can avoid potential risks and improve their reputation. This can lead to increased sales and revenue, as well as cost savings and access to financing opportunities. Additionally, strong ESG practices can result in better stock performance and greater access to capital markets. Ultimately, implementing an ESG strategy can help companies achieve long-term financial success while also promoting sustainability and social responsibility. For these reasons, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to adopt an ESG approach to their operations.

Bivendra Narangoda

Chief Operating Officer

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