7 min read
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) jobs, are positions that prioritize sustainability and social responsibility in the workplace. These jobs can be found in a variety of industries, including finance, technology, and consulting, and they often involve working on projects that have a positive impact on the environment, society, or both.
One of the main drivers behind the growth of ESG jobs is the increasing awareness of the need for sustainable and responsible business practices. As more and more people become concerned about the impact of business on the environment and society, companies are looking for employees who can help them address these issues. According to a new Gartner survey, "87% of business leaders expect to increase their organization’s investment in sustainability over the next two years.” (Intelligent CIO, 2022). In addition to increasing consumer demand for sustainable products and services, companies are also being pushed to adopt more sustainable practices by regulatory changes and investor expectations. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), for example, has developed recommendations for companies to disclose their financial risks and opportunities related to climate change. Recommendations like these are expected to be adopted by an increasing number of companies and investors, which could drive demand for professionals with expertise in sustainability and climate risk management.
ESG jobs are not limited to specific industries or sectors. They can be found in a variety of industries, including finance, technology, and consulting. In the finance industry, ESG jobs often focus on integrating ethics, sustainability, and social responsibility into investment decisions. This may involve working with companies to improve their ESG performance or developing financial products that take into account environmental and social considerations.
One type of ESG job is in the field of sustainability. These professionals work to minimize the environmental impact of a company's operations, whether by reducing energy consumption, reducing waste, or finding more sustainable sources of materials. They may also be responsible for developing and implementing sustainability strategies and programs, such as recycling initiatives or renewable energy projects.
Another area of focus for ESG jobs is corporate social responsibility (CSR). These professionals work to ensure that a company is acting ethically and responsibly in its interactions with employees, customers, and other stakeholders. They may be involved in developing and implementing CSR programs, such as charitable giving campaigns or diversity and inclusion initiatives.
In the finance industry, ESG jobs often focus on integrating sustainability and social responsibility into investment decisions. This may involve working with companies to improve their ESG performance or developing financial products that take into account environmental and social considerations.
In the technology industry, ESG jobs may involve developing and implementing sustainable practices within a company's supply chain or working on projects that use technology to address environmental and social challenges. Technology companies can improve on their ESG metrics by, for example, reducing their carbon footprint and minimizing their environmental impact. Professionals with expertise in sustainability and supply chain management within the technology industry can help these companies achieve their ESG goals.
Consulting firms also often have a strong focus on ESG, with professionals working on projects that help companies improve their sustainability and social responsibility practices. This may involve conducting sustainability assessments, developing sustainability plans, or helping companies to report on their ESG performance. This part of their business is expected to grow as more companies prioritize sustainability in their business operations.
In addition to traditional job titles, there are also a number of certification programs and professional associations that focus on ESG. For example, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) offers a certification program for sustainability professionals, while the CFA Institute offers a certificate in ESG Investing. These types of organizations can provide valuable networking opportunities and help professionals stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the field.
Criticisms of ESG In the Workplace
There have also been a number of criticisms of the use of ESG criteria in the workplace. One criticism is that there is a lack of standardization in the way that ESG criteria are defined and measured. Different organizations and rating agencies may use different criteria and methodologies, which can make it difficult to compare the ESG performance of different companies. This lack of standardization can also make it difficult for investors to make informed decisions based on ESG criteria.
Another criticism is that some companies may engage in "greenwashing," or the practice of presenting their operations as more sustainable than they actually are. This can be done through the use of vague or misleading language in sustainability reports or through the inclusion of non-material sustainability initiatives in their ESG criteria. This can make it difficult for people to accurately assess the true sustainability of a company.
There is also the concern that a focus on ESG criteria may come at the expense of financial performance. Some critics argue that companies that prioritize sustainability and social responsibility may not be as profitable as those that prioritize traditional financial metrics.
These are all valid concerns. Those who choose to pursue a career in the ESG space should be prepared to address them. While there is a long way to go, those who join the ESG workforce today could work to improve on the current state of affairs and create a better future for the ESG industry.
The demand for ESG jobs is expected to continue to grow as more and more companies prioritize sustainability and social responsibility. Those interested in pursuing a career in this field should consider earning a degree in a relevant field, such as environmental science, sustainability, or business with a focus on social responsibility. Relevant work experience, such as internships or volunteering, can also be helpful in building a strong foundation for a career in ESG.
Overall, ESG jobs offer a chance to make a positive impact on the world while also building a rewarding career. Whether you are interested in ethics, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, or all the above, there are a variety of job opportunities available in this growing field.
Intelligent CIO. (2022). Survey finds 87% of business leaders expect to increase sustainability investment over next two years. Retrieved from https://www.intelligentcio.com/apac/2022/11/21/survey-finds-87-of-business-leaders-expect-to-increase-sustainability-investment-over-next-two-years/
TCFD (2022) TCFD Recommendations. Retrieved from https://www.fsb-tcfd.org/recommendations/
Global Reporting Initiative (2022) Online training for sustainability professionals. Retrieved from https://www.globalreporting.org/reporting-support/gri-academy/
CFA Institute (2022) Certificate in ESG Investing. Retrieved from https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/programs/esg-investing