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The Future of Business and the Earth – ESG Who?

By Dominique Heffes-Doon
Integrated Communications Lead, Camsel
Member of Laudato Si’ Media

Pope Francis in his encyclical and open letter to humanity on the environment, Laudato Si’, directs the Catholic community to love the Earth “as a mother who nurtures us and as a sister who was created alongside us”.

The Pope is not the only person of influence to speak definitively around issues that affect the environment.  The collective cry from humanity to protect the Earth has been significant, ranging from the world’s youth, Hollywood heavyweights such as Leonardo DiCaprio to now global investors and the business community, in the form of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies.

But, what is ESG exactly?

“ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. Investors are increasingly applying these non-financial factors as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth opportunities.” [CFA Institute]

Or rather,

“ESG are three central factors in measuring the sustainability and ethical impact of a company… Companies that use ESG standards are more conscientious, less risky, and are more likely to succeed in the long run.” [www.adecesg.com]

Identifying businesses or organisations that may be at risk due to environmental factors is paramount in determining a company’s success. This is critical in the face of flash flooding and rising sea levels, as the business community is becoming deeply concerned about the impact of climate change on their bottom line and future viability.

And the impact, or rather, threat, is real! According to Zurich.com, “In 2019, the UN’s International Labour Organization reported that 80 million jobs would be at risk if rising temperature predictions materialize, with productivity impacted by unlivable working environments. Almost all industries are threatened by the effects of climate change, either directly or indirectly.”  Forbes.com goes on to quote Deloitte Global CEO Punit Renjen. “Leaders acknowledge the business imperative of climate change and increasingly understand it to be an existential threat that can have long-term impacts on their people and business operations.”

The jury is fully in, and the verdict is undeniably clear.  The impact of climate change is real and applicable to our daily life and our very existence as a human race here on this Earth.  There’s only one way forward, each of us making changes at an individual and community level.  So, let us return to the words of the Holy Father, who wisely instructs how we should feel about the Earth. But Pope Francis makes it clear that the time to act is now!

Arguably, our local businesses and communities can be doing more to protect the environment.  According to news.gov.tt, “we have become over reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences. On a global scale, up to 5 trillion plastic bags are used each year and 1 million plastic bottles are bought every minute. 50% of consumer plastics are single use and 10% of all human-generated waste is plastic.  Every year Trinidad and Tobago generates scores of thousands of plastic bottles, plastic bags and single use items such as straws, forks and spoons as waste.”

Hesitancy around making a switch to more environmentally sound practices is not an issue reserved for our Trini business community either.  To quote Forbes.com, “despite [climate change] threats, many companies are still hesitant to make significant operational changes to address climate change, even though 81% of executives agree that businesses should make even greater efforts to protect the environment. Their hesitancy is most likely due to short-term thinking.”

Here at the Catholic News, we believe in sharing the good news and we have some great news!  Each of us can make a change and we challenge you to do so!

  • Reduce single use plastic. Walk with your own reusable cutlery.
  • Recycle. Find your local recycling outlet and make it a weekly discipline to recycle.
  • Reuse any plastic items from past “limes” and “fetes”. It’s a great way to save money and conserve costs for that next social gathering.

Share, share, share with us your ideas and tips for recycling and living a greener life.  We’d love to hear from you and share with our online community!





 

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