Last week, 35,000 tech enthusiasts from around the globe came together in Toronto for one of North America’s largest tech conferences – Collision – to discuss an array of topics including the metaverse, NFTs, AI, cryptocurrency and data privacy, with over a thousand startups looking to make their mark with investors.

In the various pitch sessions and startup booths, it was clear that environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations have risen quickly to the top of leadership agendas. Many new companies have truly embraced ESG – and have been built from the ground up with purpose in mind. From a digital-first carbon bank (Ceezer) to a company using satellite and AI imagery to track GHG emissions as they happen (Climate Trace) these tech companies have embedded purpose into the fabric of their business models.

ESG isn’t just the right thing to do, its considered table stakes for businesses committed to action the principles of stakeholder capitalism or purpose-driven business models. Why? As this is what your employees, customers, investors, regulators, and communities ultimately care about.

But even for more traditional companies, topics related to ESG were front and centre. As tech companies have grown from startups disrupting the status quo, to the most valuable companies in the world, there has been increased scrutiny on a wide range of issues including climate change and impact investing. Large tech companies have pledged to eliminate or offset their carbon emissions by as early as 2030. These net-zero pledges will have a significant impact on supply chains throughout the industry, while also increasing expectations for smaller companies to follow suit.

For companies looking to make similar pledges, tracking how they are contributing to areas such as carbon emissions, renewable energy, water conservation, and waste reduction has become a crucial first step. For growing tech companies, adopting an ESG framework early on will allow them to measure and communicate social and environmental impact alongside their business and growth metrics.

Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when building out communications around your ESG strategy:

  1. Integrate ESG strategy with corporate purpose, brand, and go-to-market strategies to ensure operational and narrative alignment.
  2. Create internal and external ESG communication strategies based on key priorities and ambitions to drive impact and results.
  3. Strengthen your ESG message by producing content that is both inclusive and relevant.
  4. ESG reporting and disclosure should be aligned with globally accepted ESG standards and frameworks. Choosing the right framework should be done strategically, based on your organization’s goals and key stakeholders.
  5. Build out credible and impactful data to support your ESG strategy, ensuring that it is both accurate and provable. Scrutiny on ESG claims is increasing, and accusations of greenwashing carry serious reputational risks.

Establishing and communicating a strong ESG proposition helps drive business performance and resiliency, as it is a critical driver of investor decision making, and a key factor impacting employee recruitment, engagement, and retention. Companies that will rise to the top will be those that build ESG and purpose effectively into the fabric of their business model and culture.

If you’d like to discuss what an ESG strategy looks like for your organization, please contact: