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ESG – what is it and how is it changing business?

Published: 10/07/2024
Naturally Balanced
The Naturally Balanced team includes experts in their field who create the best content for you, collaborating on their knowledge and experience.

Date of the last update: 10.07.2024

In today’s rapidly changing business world, companies need to pay attention not only to financial returns, but also to their environmental, social and governance structure. ESG, or Environmental, Social, and Governance, is a set of assessment criteria that helps companies operate in a sustainable and responsible manner. Adopting ESG principles is becoming increasingly popular, influencing the way companies operate on many levels. Companies that apply ESG increase their transparency, minimize risk and attract investors, leading to long-term value growth.   

Table of contents:

  1. What exactly does ESG mean?
  2. How is ESG changing the business landscape?
  3. Is ESG mandatory?
  4. Summary

You can read this article in 4 minutes.

What exactly does ESG mean?

ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. It is a set of assessment criteria that companies use to measure and report their performance in three key areas:  

  1. Environmental: This category assesses how a company impacts the environment. This includes aspects such as greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, waste management, biodiversity conservation and water resource management. Companies that adhere to environmental standards seek to minimize their negative impact on the planet through sustainable practices.  
  2. Social: This aspect focuses on the company’s relationship with its employees, customers, suppliers and the communities in which it operates. Important issues include human rights, working conditions, diversity and inclusion, employee health and safety, and community involvement and corporate responsibility. Companies that care about the social aspect build trust and loyalty among stakeholders. 
  3. Governance (Corporate Governance): Corporate governance is concerned with a company’s governance structures and decision-making processes. This includes practices related to transparency, ethics, board composition, executive remuneration, audits and compliance with laws and regulations. Good corporate governance practices help companies avoid scandals and legal risks and enhance investor confidence.  

ESG is a tool that helps companies manage risk, build trust among stakeholders and achieve long-term success through responsible and sustainable business practices. 

How is ESG changing the business landscape?

Implementing ESG principles changes the way businesses operate on a number of levels:  

Increasing Transparency and Trust  

Companies that adopt ESG principles commit to greater transparency in their operations. Regular reporting of ESG performance builds trust among investors, customers and business partners. As a result, companies can better communicate their sustainability achievements and challenges.  

Reducing Risks  

Analysing and managing risks related to ESG criteria allows companies to better prepare for future challenges. For example, companies investing in technologies that reduce CO2 emissions can avoid the high costs associated with environmental regulations. Similarly, ensuring good working conditions and employee relations minimises the risk of strikes and other disruptions.  

Increasing Company Value  

Investors are increasingly looking at ESG practices when making investment decisions. Companies with high ESG scores are seen as more forward-looking and stable, which can attract capital and increase shareholder value. In addition, customers are more likely to support brands that care about the environment and society, which can translate into higher revenues.  

Innovation and Operational Efficiency  

ESG principles often inspire companies to look for new and innovative solutions that can improve their operational efficiency. An example would be investments in clean energy technologies that not only reduce a company’s carbon footprint, but also reduce operating costs.

Check out for more: Nature for business

Is ESG mandatory?

ESG is not yet mandatory in all countries, but there are increasing regulations and requirements for sustainability reporting.  

Under the EU’s CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive), from 1 January 2024 companies must conduct more detailed non-financial sustainability reporting than before. The new requirements will gradually extend to medium-sized and smaller companies listed on regulated markets in the European Union. It is worth noting that some companies are increasingly implementing ESG practices voluntarily to meet the expectations of investors, consumers and other stakeholders.  


In summary, ESG is a key element of modern business that promotes environmental, social and corporate governance responsibility. Through ESG, companies can strengthen their brand, attract talent and build customer loyalty. Although mandatory ESG reporting is being introduced gradually, it is already worth preparing for it in order to make the most of the new regulations and increase competitiveness in the market. Implementing ESG principles not only helps companies comply with legal requirements, but also has a positive impact on their long-term stability and sustainability. With increasing public awareness and regulation, ESG is becoming an indispensable part of business strategy. 

Naturally Balanced
The Naturally Balanced team includes experts in their field who create the best content for you, collaborating on their knowledge and experience.