More than ever before, businesses have a responsibility to ensure they are constantly striving to affect positive change. Once known as Corporate Socially Responsibility (CSR), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of a business or organisation. Whilst similar in principle, the difference is that ESG is measured, quantifiable and criteria-led, allowing businesses to fully integrate better environmental, social and governance strategies into their core.
Environmental factors include the contribution a company makes to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions, along with waste management and energy efficiency. With climate change high on the global agenda, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to pledge their support to the cause.
Social factors include human rights, labour standards in the supply chain, and more routine issues such as adherence to workplace health and safety.
The final category, Governance, refers to a set of rules or principles defining rights, responsibilities and expectations between stakeholders in the governance of corporations – there is already substantial empirical evidence to suggest that the “G” aspect of ESG ultimately yields better corporate returns.
ESG at NTT DATA
ESG is a key priority at NTT DATA, and we are committed to ensuring that all of our work, across all areas of the business, reflects this goal. Based on our consistent belief and mission that we will “shape the future society with our clients”, we strive to provide solutions for the sustainable development of our clients and society. Alongside this, we promise to resolve social issues through our corporate activities, which take into account cultivating IT talent, implementing workstyle transformation, and respecting diversity.
As part of our commitment to contribute to a more affluent and harmonious world, we work with charities to help them achieve their mission. Our charity partnerships with Street Child and The Prince’s Trust are key examples of this. Each year, employees from across NTT DATA come together to participate in activities – such as our Big Ride for Africa – to help raise money for these worthy causes.
In my role as Head of ESG at NTT DATA UK, I aim to make ESG a part of daily life. All our offices have to track their environmental impact, from paper waste to energy use. Incorporating ESG into our routine encourages employees to think more mindfully and to adapt their behaviours accordingly, in both work and home environments. On top of this, every person is allocated a day to support a charity of their choice.
Of course, in forcing us to work from home, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we create and implement ESG initiatives. We’ve had to be more creative and work out ways to get everyone involved from the comfort of their own homes.
In previous years, as part of our work with the Princes’ Trust, we run frequent world of work days where young people from the Trust come to our offices and learn skills such as interviewing and CV writing. This year, we have been facilitating virtual digital skills workshops instead, to ensure that these young people continue to be supported during these uncertain times.
Our latest initiative, Every Litter Helps, launching in December, encourages employees to spend an hour a day collecting litter in their local area. Not only will the scheme enable employees to give back, it will also reinforce a sense of community amongst our staff during these difficult times – unified in our commitment to create palpable, positive change in the world.
In 2020, businesses have been more mindful than ever of the impact they have on the world. Whether it is the accelerating impacts of climate change or the suffering created by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have a greater obligation than ever to act responsibly.
Looking ahead, a clear and permanent commitment to ESG will be vital to business success. Younger employees are increasingly demanding that these values be front and centre within an organisation. Without them, it is likely that businesses will struggle to attract top talent – ultimately losing out to their competitors.