As many readers have likely begun to notice, a broad swath of asset managers, media commentators, consultants, regulators, and corporate management teams have become increasingly focused on and outspoken about the importance of the ‘ESG’ framework and the pursuit of related goals and targets over the past few years. Companies are making ESG commitments to improve their image, but what sort of true substance lies beneath all of the flashy marketing? Whether you are deeply familiar with the concept of ESG or have just started to hear about it recently, the trend has captured the attention of a broad audience and appears to be here for the long run.
What is ESG?
First, it may be best to start with defining what these people, companies, and investment firms are referencing when they mention the ‘ESG’ framework. This is very straightforward, as the three letters simply stand for Environmental, Social, and Governance. These three components are meant to encompass a range of non-financial factors that a company should take into account in addition to its pursuit of generating profit on behalf of shareholders. The hope is that this framework will encourage companies to act more responsibly and widen the scope of sustainability concerns beyond just merely environmental considerations. By encouraging corporations to tackle social issues and build resilient, diverse governance teams, the hope is that the private sector will take the interests of more stakeholders into account and act as agents of positive societal change while they operate and grow their businesses.
Why ESG Matters to Companies
ESG goals take many forms that can attract wider investment, employment and partnership opportunities. Environmental goals can include a reduction in energy or carbon emissions used in company operations or the commitment to use sustainably harvested materials in production. With respect to social goals, business leaders can implement diversity, equity and inclusion programs applied to all stakeholders as well as external partners such as vendors and contractors. Other examples of social goals might include educational and workforce development opportunities for employees, the adoption of flexible working hours where feasible, company-sponsored volunteering in the community, or employee recognition programs. More resilient governance objectives might take the form of Board or officer oversight of climate-related issues and more gender and ethnic diversity in executive and other leadership positions.
Adopting ESG goals may also carry the positive benefit of allowing companies to be more competitive in the labor market by attracting talented and ambitious workers who identify with these goals and are drawn to the broader mission of acting responsibly. The development of clear and concise ESG goals can help shape a company’s path to success, especially in recruiting talent and appealing to a wider audience of investors, shareholders, and other partners.
How is ESG Enforced?
Until now, enforcement around ESG disclosures as it pertains to public companies and investment funds in the US has been relatively loose and unspecified with some organizations raising capital for funds touting ESG or sustainability mandates without much documented follow-through. At least in the US, it seems that the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) plans to take a more active role in regulating ESG disclosures and clamping down on bad actors who misrepresent or manipulate the standard.
The European Union enforces their ESG rules through their regulatory body, the European Council, which just released the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) requiring all large companies to publish regular reports on their environmental and social impact activities. It stands to reason that over time, the SEC and other US regulatory agencies are expected to adopt similar rules or follow in the footsteps of Europe in order to have a more robust ESG standard that serves corporations, investors, and all of the stakeholders they interact with.
The landscape is changing fast and ever-evolving but those interested in the ESG trend should stay tuned because it certainly will not be going anywhere soon.
Achieving your ESG goals with AmpUp
One major environmental goal set forth by businesses ranging all the way from small to very large is a reduction in carbon emissions from production and operations. With new regulations enforcing ESG goals, it is critical that companies have tools and mechanisms in place to accurately and transparently quantify and report ESG and emissions reductions efforts. This is where EV charging software like AmpUp’s Community Manager can help.
Companies that wish to reduce their carbon emissions through vehicle electrification – whether these companies invest in EV charging station infrastructure for their employees, convert company fleet to electric fleets, or decide to offer public charging from company-owned chargers – can obtain a full-scope managed charging solution through AmpUp’s intuitive, easy-to-use platform. Station owners and site hosts can pull important sustainability metrics from AmpUp’s system, which entail but are not limited to the current load of charge stations (kW), total energy used by stations (kWhs), and the GHG impact based on the total number of kWh dispensed from the stations. AmpUp works with hardware manufacturers who ensure responsible sourcing and premier production in the United States – many of these manufacturers are Energy Star-certified. Moreover, AmpUp’s donations feature allows station site hosts to donate a portion of their charging proceeds towards furthering the EV revolution and many AmpUp hosts give back to the community with every charging session. Donations go towards furthering initiatives like clean energy research, infrastructure development, and public education.
For more information on how AmpUp software can help you achieve your ESG goals, contact us here.
Morningstar Article: https://www.morningstar.com/articles/1091550/us-sustainable-fund-flows-slid-in-first-quarter-2022
Bloomberg Article: https://www.bloomberg.com/company/press/esg-assets-rising-to-50-trillion-will-reshape-140-5-trillion-of-global-aum-by-2025-finds-bloomberg-intelligence/
Reuters Article (EU SEC Rules Explanation): https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en-us/posts/investigation-fraud-and-risk/esg-gap-widens/