The role IT departments play in achieving business ESG goals 

Sinead Conboy

What is ESG? 

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is a holistic framework for businesses to achieve sustainability beyond just environmental factors, but diversity and societal priorities too. It requires businesses to behave ethically to achieve a sustainable and responsible future.  

  • Environmental: This considers how companies use energy and manage their environmental impact considering factors such as energy efficiency, climate change, carbon emissions and waste management. 
  • Social: Social criteria examine how companies foster their people and culture and the wider implications on society. Factors that are considered include inclusivity, gender and diversity, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, human rights, and labour standards. 
  • Governance: This assesses timing and quality of decision making, governance structure, and the distribution of rights and responsibilities across stakeholder groups. Criteria include business ethics, data security, capital allocations and supply chain management.  

In recent years, ESG goals have gone from being “nice to have”, to a non-negotiable for companies looking to attract new customers, partners, and employees. While many may have primarily focused on “E”, “S” and “G” have increased in priority for companies looking to adapt a 360 approach to sustainability. 

Why is ESG important?  

ESG is important for several reasons. It not only addresses environmental and social challenges, but it also contributes to the overall resilience, sustainability, and success of companies as it focuses on the following areas: 

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