Executives say they’re committed to ESG, but the data shows otherwise

by The Insights

In the past For several years, environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives have taken the business world by storm. The bottom line wasn’t all that mattered anymore. Clients and investors wanted to know how companies were tackling a host of ESG issues, from climate change to diversity, equity and inclusion.

More recently, the model has come under increasing criticism. Political attacks on ESG principles combined with precarious macroeconomic conditions, a stronger push for profit at the expense of growth and an energy crisis in Europe have allowed some companies to backtrack on their promises, especially if they were not entirely engaged from the start.

To be clear, many companies are making great strides in reducing their carbon pollution, an effort that falls within the broader framework of ESG considerations. This could include using cleaner energy sources for manufacturing, more environmentally friendly packaging for consumer goods, or selecting cloud providers who strive to run the most data centers. energy efficient.

Regardless of how companies approach becoming a greener organization, the question is whether they stay true to their promises, especially as economic conditions tighten. For some, ESG commitments are more about looks than action. Unfortunately, Google Cloud’s 2023 Sustainability Survey suggests executive resolve is waning. That, or those that were only there for the benefit of marketing are starting to become clear.

As evidence, the survey found that this year, economic pressures have pushed ESG concerns down to third on organizations’ priority list, down from the top spot they held last year. “Many executives point to the macroeconomic environment and pressure from external parties to cut corners on their sustainability initiatives and prioritize customer relationships and revenue generation,” the report said.

Google commissioned The Harris Poll to survey 1,476 VP and C-suite executives worldwide across various industry sectors. The report found that the number of sustainability projects implemented, as opposed to just planned, was down 8% from last year.

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