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Groundbreakers and Transparency Makers: the Role of
Engagement in ESG

Engagement plays a vital role in the integrity of Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) frameworks and reporting. Building trust in democracy and achieving positive ESG outcomes go hand-in-hand with prioritising engagement.

Narrow attention to the role of engagement in ESG might suggest its natural alignment with Social criteria: issues around equity, inclusion and business operations’ impacts on local communities, for instance. Wider attention, however, leads to understanding the very function of engagement as necessary to outcomes across all three pillars. Environment, where local communities are integral to reporting, feedback and promotion of sustainability practices, and Governance, where engagement operates at a strategic, decision-making level, ensure engagement plays a vital function in the integrity of ESG frameworks and reporting.

The question of ESG’s current prominence requires new thinking around the convergence of certain factors: declining trust in government and erosion of democratic practices that buoy legislation concerning ESG, on the one hand, and increased political attention to engagement on the other.

The increasing attention to sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical governance in business practices has been decades in the making. This report acknowledges the crucial role engagement plays in the credibility of ESG reporting, advocating for the elevation of engagement to decision-making and strategic levels across all three ESG pillars.

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Groundbreakers and Transparency Makers: the Role of Engagement in ESG