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The critical importance of ESG for businesses in 2021

A three-letter term is making a world of difference for so many companies.

ESG.

It stands for the environmental, social, governance framework that is at the core of a business. This framework can include elements of diversity (e.g. efforts to close wage gaps), planet-related initiatives (e.g. a company’s carbon footprint) and how a company’s money is spent (e.g. investments in employees and growth opportunities).

The origins of the ESG term can be traced back to a 2005 investment and global business conference known as “Who Cares Wins.” Since, the term has gained steam, been widely adopted and now many businesses and major corporations throughout the globe have dedicated executives and/or teams whose sole focus is their respective ESG framework.

Oftentimes, ESG and CSR (corporate social responsibility) are either intertwined or used interchangeably. In reality, CSR is more about general accountability tactics whereas ESG efforts lean more toward quantifiable results.

Okay, we’ve gotten into the nitty-gritty on the lingo. Now, let’s get to the bottom line: It has never been more important for businesses to get comfortable with the concept of ESG and be on their A-game.

For some companies, they may have the periodic initiative that touches on an ESG-inspired aspect. For others, the ESG framework is there, but there is a struggle to move it forward and make components of it known. And, for some, it’s never been a thought.

As we embark on a new year, the truth is in the headlines: Social justice endeavors, the health and wellness of every single American, climate change and everything in between. Whether it’s reacting to a crisis or proactively telling the story, a strong ESG strategy (and the data that comes with it!) can help move mountains.

The Firm Public Relations & Marketing has been on the frontlines of helping businesses showcase their ESG deeds throughout the years. Among our most recent successes in 2020:

• Publicized a commercial contractor’s diversity and inclusion initiative to train and prepare minority-owned business owners to take on opportunities.

• Highlighted a major financial institution’s quantifiable endeavors to support employee wellness amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Launched the annual ESG report for a gaming company, garnering interest from industry influencers, trade media and regional reporters.

And, these are only a few examples, showcasing select storylines. From here, there will be more avenues to explore, follow-up efforts to strengthen an existing narrative and so much more on behalf of the companies that trust us with their reputation.

For every single company, there is a logical and meaningful path to take in the ESG space. Whether your company has cleared an existing path or is looking to take its first steps, now is absolutely the time for action.

Jesse Scott is an account director at The Firm Public Relations & Marketing. For more information, visit thefirmpr.com.

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