Chapter 10Challenges of Today and Tomorrow

Both dialogue and action concerning ESG has progressed significantly over the last couple of decades, but there is no denying that strides made in environment and climate change spaces have far outpaced those made in the social space. Still, thanks to intersectionality between environmental rights and social rights such as water and food security, we are seeing benefits spilling into social aspects of doing business. This is also a result of changing priorities among consumers and investors. In this chapter, we'll discuss what the future of ESG will look like—primarily as the social aspect progresses—and how businesses can evolve in response.

That said, this chapter does not neglect climate and environment. Rather it focuses on the new terrain companies will encounter—and need to master—if they hope to succeed in tomorrow's ESG landscape.

Social Issues Ascendant

Michael Posner served in the Obama administration as the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.1 He explained that although ESG has been around for 15 to 20 years, the focus has almost exclusively been on the E and the G. “There's a couple of reasons for it. One is, it's harder to come up with a common definition of what is social. Second, even if you come up with a definition, it's probably going to be different in different industries.”2 He offered labor rights as an example of this point. “If you're talking about labor rights in a supply chain ...

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