How to ensure success in environmental, social, and governance efforts

Businesses want to address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) challenges but often fail. While organisations’ policies may be well-meaning, they often become decoupled from actual practices. Organisational efforts at change continue to focus on crafting “new and better” policies, but without commensurate attention to the rest of the organisational landscape, which includes internal and external stakeholders. Sukhbir Sandhu, Carol T Kulik, Sanjeewa S Perera, and Sarah A Jarvis developed a framework that works as a roadmap to ensure that ESG change efforts succeed.

Demands for businesses to act on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) challenges are reaching a crescendo (e.g., emissions reduction, climate strikes, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo). But despite expressing commitments and good intentions, businesses are falling short of addressing these challenges. For example, BHP, a mining company, set an ambitious policy target in 2016 to achieve a 50-50 gender balance across its workforce by 2025. However, the company’s progress on gender equality goals continues to be slow, and cynicism is growing among employees and other stakeholders.

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