Depoliticizing ESG with Good Data

We all deserve the right to live without the worry of the effects of air and water pollution, global warming, and deforestation, to name just a few. These are basic human rights. Unfortunately, right now we are living in a world of polarizing political differences that shape the global agenda, the narrative, and meaningful decision-making in these critical areas.

Protecting the environment is an issue that should transcend the friction of political differences. Trusted and independent data can help us navigate these political differences and inform critical decision making. This is what I refer to as “good” data in this piece. Reputable data gives us a window into important scientific evidence that can inform and shape our evidence-based policies and actions.

This is not a matter of ideology; it is a matter of survival for generations to come. We all have a responsibility to drive this change. It starts with a vision of what our future can be and using everything in our power, including objective data, to help shape the future we all deserve.

As ESG becomes more and more politicized (Source), some companies are starting to avoid using the phrase altogether. The lack of consistency and standardization has created an environment where people are less comfortable with the idea of measuring sustainability efforts. Standardization will take a lot of effort on behalf of governments and organizations to be achieved, but data quality and consistency are within our immediate reach.

Tools like RS Metrics’ ESGSignals® can address both of these industry needs. ESGSignals® provides independent and verifiable data that adheres to standards and frameworks. It can be used to make confident financial decisions in a way that is more connected to objectivity and verification as opposed to sentiment and sustainability narrative building. In addition, by being available in a SaaS format through Google Cloud Marketplace here, companies of any size who use the marketplace can obtain just the data themes and locations they are interested in, which is significantly more user-friendly than creating a whole new department within those companies to provide that data. This supports data democratization and makes ESG reporting easier even for smaller companies, increasing the overall availability of good data for more businesses.

It is perhaps too optimistic to claim that changing the way we measure ESG and making it easier for others to participate in the process will solve the problem of politicization of ESG. But addressing the fundamental problems within data and bringing more common sense in the process and better clarity are the first steps in the right direction. What should come after this is a structured approach by all stakeholders that aims to transform all polluting and unsustainable practices into greener ones through sustainable expertise and innovation.

Eileen Lynch leads marketing for Investor Communications at Broadridge and is a strategic advisor to RS Metrics. Previously, Eileen was the Group Head of Marketing at LSEG and CMO of Refinitiv.