Rapid changes in the world over the last two years have accelerated the pace that leaders have put environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards and certifications on the table. The result is significant organisational change around the world.

In simple terms, the pillars of ESG can be defined as: Environmental, to do with an organisation’s impact on the planet, Social, to do with an organisation’s impact on people, including staff, customers, and communities, and Governance, to do with how an organisation is managed and whether it is done transparently. The Korea Tourism Organisation has, for example, prepared guidelines for ESG. It develops actionable items for convention centres, convention bureaux, international conference planners, companies, organisers, and participants, ultimately suggesting actions and strategies. Whatever the starting point for ESG, the outcome of any ESG-focused project will be change in all areas of an organisation. This includes strategic decision-making, a new direction, and the reporting of progress.

According to insight from PwC analysis, there are three dimensions of the ESG revolution: strategic reinvention, business transformation and reimagined reporting.

  • Strategic reinvention translates the aspirations of ESG into a blueprint for where and how to move forward: What must we do? What should we do? What could we do?
  • Business transformation drives ESG strategy into the heart of an organisation, often informing and extending ongoing digital transformation.
  • Finally, reimagined reporting enables the measurement and management of ESG, which can range across an organisation from carbon emissions and workforce diversity to supply chain sustainability.

ESG initiatives even impact an organisation’s ability to find and keep talent. We know that customers make brand choices based on an organisation’s environmental and social policies; this is the same for prospective and current employees. This means ESG is vital to an organisation’s stability and is, therefore, a boon for talent attraction and retention.

One thing that will remain constant for business leaders is to ensure that employees understand how ESG benefits customers, the brand, stakeholders and the communities around them at a macro level, as well as how it connects and supports the aspirations and needs of individuals. Embedding ESG into purpose, culture, and an organisation’s working methods prepares everyone for future disruption, whether a small change or a significant event. In addition, it rallies people into conscientiously embracing personal responsibility for high-impact areas such as climate change, racial divide, and responsible consumption.

Business events companies and associations must consider all elements of ESG as a strategic challenge if they are to future-proof organisations and deliver meaningful impact for the long term. Environmental, social, and governance strategies and actions are about making a difference for our world, creating outcomes that drive value and fuel growth whilst strengthening societies. When you put ESG at the very heart of your operation, you take bold steps towards a model that will deliver sustainable advantage and measurable value.