Among many astounding developments pertaining to ESG/Sustainability in the past year, the ISS launch of its Environmental & Social Quality Score appears to have captured the attention of most remaining corporate boards on the fence about proactive attention to their company’s sustainability stance and strategy.
Corporate board directors and executive leadership should anticipate robust stakeholder attention to ESG/Sustainability developments throughout 2019. It may be time to muster company resources to get on-board with the trend.
It is poignant that the nearly 50-year-old National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) professional association just formally announced its first-ever ESG-disclosure policy statement on January 30, 2019. In the statement, the NIRI Board effectively acknowledges that ESG/Sustainability is here to stay and encourages IR professionals to become knowledgeable and proactive to address growing investor and stakeholder interest.
While recognition of the rapid growth of ESG/Sustainability in the mainstream by both investors and leading corporations pre-date 2018, the exponential rate of attention accelerated dramatically in 2018. The following table contains a partial list of some of the bigger announcements:
Using AlphaSense to search for ESG + Sustainability, we can observe that ESG/Sustainability references have been increasing in SEC proxy filings by all cap size company, and earnings and conference transcripts by Mega Cap companies.
While not a large number, search results identified Mega Cap companies had 16 ~2018 earnings call transcripts with ESG/Sustainability references, up from 3 in ~2017, and similarly 31 ~2018 earnings and conference transcripts, an increase of 35 percent from 23 percent in ~2017.
Now that both company boards and investor relations are being encouraged by two top influencers in their professional worlds to get on board with ESG/Sustainability, 2019 will likely be another year with astounding advances in ESG/Sustainability communications developments.
Pamela Styles is principal of Next Level Investor Relations LLC, a strategic consultancy with dual Investor Relations and ESG/Sustainability specialties.