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Can businesses do good?

Banner Image By Navin Valrani | Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Few questions keep me up at night. The title of this blog is one of them.

With our contextual backdrop creating pressures on private enterprise like never before, business leaders at the very least are forced to pay lip service to society’s needs. Those needs currently range from environmental pressures to equitable hiring practices. Businesses seem to be acting and to tout their efforts, they have found yet another abbreviation: ESG.

It is difficult today to avoid the abbreviation ESG for most newspaper buffs (me being one of them!). When expanded out, ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. My challenge is that these three areas don’t go together. By grouping these issues, are we doing justice to them? The fact that our global carbon footprint keeps increasing while women are still fighting for equality in the workplace is a question of timing, NOT connection.  Why should organizations get away with this sort of grouping? What has a board’s governance process got to do with the pollution control on a factory floor?

Is ESG a cop-out for businesses to do good, or is it the start of a movement to make our world a better place? It’s time to break up these three letters into many more letters and let each letter stand on its own feet, with its very own call for action.

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