• Naveen Aggarwal, Partner |
  • Ira Gupta Tuteja, Partner |
3 min read

Today ESG goes beyond compliance and philanthropy. It is about embedding sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical governance into the DNA of a business. Despite the ever-evolving debate surrounding the term ‘ESG’, CEOs in India, as well as globally, acknowledge that addressing ESG challenges remains a key component of their business operations and long-term corporate strategy. To this effect, 54 per cent CEOs in India have fully embedded ESG into their business as a means to value creation - according to KPMG in India’s 2023 CEO Outlook report

Ira gupta tuteja quote

The social aspect of ESG is crucial for the growth of a nation and imperative for all corporates in India to actively contribute. Being socially responsible is not just a choice; it's an investment in a better future.

Ira Gupta Tuteja
Advisor - Corporate Citizenship
KPMG in India

Businesses are increasingly recognising the significance of creating lasting positive impact beyond profit margins. In India's journey towards sustainable development, ESG practices serve as guiding principles for corporate responsibility and societal impact.

Innovation through inclusion

ESG underscores all facets of a business, from leadership to frontline staff. Including diverse teams brings a multitude of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table, boosting creativity, innovation, and better decision-making. Inclusive practices such as unbiased hiring processes, equitable policies, and diversity training initiatives create a sense of belonging and equity, driving employee engagement and organisational success.

Data drives community success

With the diverse range of community engagements in India, measuring social impact success is of paramount importance to avoid risks of coming under the radar for lack of transparency, and more importantly making sure that the data is auditable.

This involves assessing outcomes against predefined goals, considering both quantitative metrics and qualitative indicators. Key aspects include evaluating effectiveness, sustainability, scalability, and stakeholder feedback. Metrics may include changes in behaviour, access to resources, or community impact. Continuous monitoring and adaptation are crucial for meaningful assessment and improvement.

A learning mindset to build resilient teams

ESG encompasses a commitment to continuous learning and development, both at the individual and organisational levels. Organisations that prioritise learning promote a culture of innovation, adaptability, and resilience, equipping employees with the skills and knowledge to navigate evolving challenges. Cultivating a positive work environment involves promoting work-life balance, prioritising mental health and well-being of teams.  

Aligning with customer values

ESG factors increasingly shape consumer choices. Companies committed to ESG practices resonate with socially conscious consumers, driving trust and loyalty. Transparent sustainability initiatives, ethical business conduct, and community engagement build lasting connections, driving customer loyalty by aligning values with purchasing decisions.

Naveen Aggarwal quote

We know that how we grow matters – that how we do business is just as important as what we do. Our commitment to people, planet, and prosperity are supported by transparency around our culture, sustainable practices, and governance principles.

Naveen Aggarwal
Office Managing Partner - Delhi NCR
KPMG in India

As organisations embrace the principles of ESG, they have a unique opportunity to drive transformative change that extends far beyond financial metrics. Leaders should start with the following questions to create a legacy of lasting positive impact that transcends profit margins and builds a more sustainable and equitable future for all:

  1. Are we aligning our business goals with meaningful social impact objectives?
  2. How are we actively engaging with communities and stakeholders to understand their needs and priorities, and what are the benchmarks for a successful project?
  3. How can we continuously improve and innovate to maximize our positive social contributions while maintaining transparency in our reporting activities?
  4. Are our actions and initiatives contributing positively to society and addressing relevant social issues?

Through collective action and commitment to ESG, we can then pave the way for a brighter and sustainable future. 

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