Should we think about environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals in terms of equity, sustainability and safety?

1.1k views5 Comments

CEO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
I hadn't put ESG in that framework of equity, sustainability and safety before; I'm not sure I've thought it all through yet, but I like it superficially. We're still a small outfit, although we've doubled in employee count from eight to 36. As an enterprise, I don't have a formal approach to ESG as a platform or a single message. But I like using equity, sustainability, and safety as a package because it matches with many of the themes that I'm trying to hire for and permeate through the organization. The basis for those three terms are sterilized by the traditional approach to ESG. I prefer looking at things from the perspective of the humans in the equation. 
CIO and Startup Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees
When I think of ESG and the parallel with equity, sustainability and safety, all three of those are sitting in the “S”. Equity is more on the social side of things, and in terms of safety, I'd assume that refers to psychological safety. But the governance piece is missing, unless safety actually refers to security and not psychological safety. From that standpoint, I don't know that the whole scope of ESG is being covered, but it places a big focus on the social component. The social aspect is one of the more complex pieces to solve or measure, whereas environmental goals are straightforward in that they’re measurable and have a clear impact. It's like the organizational change management pieces of any large program — people are the most important and challenging part, but the technology is easy.
1 Reply
President and National Managing Principal in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees

Highlighting the emphasis on social aspects is a fair point but I think there's an argument for governance. In some of the frameworks and questionnaires I've had to fill out, there are questions on anti-bribery and employee abuse; I've even had questionnaires that ask about human trafficking and that would be a component of safety as well. There's the social aspect but there are also policies and practices to put in place, which start to get into governance a bit.

Director of Security Operations in Finance (non-banking), 5,001 - 10,000 employees
My mentor when I was in the military, General Bruce Clark, had a saying that a unit does well what the commander checks, or causes to be checked. Over the four decades that I've been in the professional world, there are a lot of people who've been talking about problems around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and haven't done anything because there has not been any motivation to check those things, or cause them to be checked. The ratio of what we say versus what we do has been virtually nonexistent. We can talk about terminology, which in my mind is a definitional problem, until we're blue in the face. But many organizations spend a lot of time parsing the definitions as an excuse for not moving forward. I understand definition is important, but it's a problem when it becomes an excuse.

I don't want to lose the governance piece, which causes these aspects to be checked, in terms of keeping people accountable. Removing governance from the equation runs the risk of perpetuating a cycle in which all we're doing is talking more about it and then ignoring it again, as we've done for decades. If we're serious about it, then we have to check it or cause it to be checked and hold people's feet to the fire. If we default back to limited definitions out of convenience, are we really serious about ESG?
1 Reply
CEO in Manufacturing, 11 - 50 employees

That’s such an important point to make: we either put up or shut up. You can talk about this stuff all day, but what are you doing at ratio?

Content you might like

Yes, we’ve done this successfully8%

Yes, but it’s still in early stages71%

Not yet, but I plan to14%

No, but I’d like to6%

No, and I don’t plan to0%



CTO in Software, 201 - 500 employees
Without a doubt - Technical Debt! It's a ball and chain that creates an ever increasing drag on any organization, stifles innovation, and prevents transformation.
Read More Comments
43.6k views132 Upvotes319 Comments

Community User in Software, 11 - 50 employees

organized a virtual escape room via - even though his team lost it was a fun subtitue for just a "virtual happy hour"
Read More Comments
11.5k views26 Upvotes63 Comments

Way more involved5%

Somewhat more involved47%

A bit more involved30%

Security’s current role is adequate10%

A bit less involved4%

Somewhat less involved1%

Way less involved1%