ESG and Tech For Good - why is rebel jumping on the bandwagon?
The short answer is because we have to. We noticed a little while ago – circa 2019 – that there are companies out there trying to save the world, and they need help. I’d already started my personal journey towards living more sustainably but felt like I had more to give. These companies and organisations are facilitating behaviour change to make it easier for people to lower their carbon footprint, which is perhaps the biggest challenge. They’re repairing or protecting our natural environments and finding more sustainable ways of utilising the resources and materials we extract from our one earth to create the products we use day to day, so that they last longer, are easier to recycle and cause less harm when they’re exhausted.
We’re doing it because we care about those who follow us, some of us have kids, others want to have them some day and we all feel that prang of guilt that it’s already decided the next generation will have a tougher ride than we have so far. So, we’re going to do what we do best but now with a twist, a razor sharp focus on helping the planet and the vast communities it holds.
But what does it even mean? Literally it’s an abbreviation for “Environment, Social and Corporate Governance”. It refers to the data and metrics that companies and governments gather to measure their impacts on our planet, our communities and our society on a whole.
In finance and investment, it’s been moulded to incentivise engagement, synonymous with “doing good”, or in some cases “LOOK WE’RE DOING GOOD, PROMISE…” when there’s no intention of following through. It’s a tricky one as some companies and brands are exceptionally good at greenwashing.
To us though, it’s a quick way to refer to companies and organisations that are working to make a difference. Sadly, it’s fallen to us individuals to avoid the companies and brands that are greenwashing, and that’s something we work hard to do, but ESG definitely has a place in our future. While it needs to be clarified and expanded upon, we need a framework and method of identifying the positive impact businesses are having. There needs to be regulation in the area to ensure that minimum standards are met and that companies flying the ESG banner are working to reduce their emissions and become more sustainable throughout their operations and supply chains and not just offsetting emissions – which is a necessary part of the decarbonisation strategy, but a much smaller part than many would have us think.
ESG is a start, it’s the cheese wheel set rolling down the hill a little after all the other cheese wheels were jettisoned, it needs our encouragement, our support and our engagement, because if we leave it to the fat-cat heads of investment firms, it’ll simply become another vehicle for misplaced hope. The warm blanket wrapped around us in a time of need so we can drift off to sleep without realising the room we’re in is actually on fire.
Tech for Good is another term growing in popularity, along with Social Enterprise.
While not exclusively linked to climate we found ourselves questioning whether certain companies align with the goals of Rebel Sustainability. Ultimately, and somewhat arrogantly, we’re good people. Azar put a lot of effort into building a team of kind and compassionate humans who want to help people find jobs they can love, and help companies find candidates who really care about their purpose and mission.
You don’t have to be saving the planet to be saving the people on it and we didn’t want to turn away companies who are supporting communities. Giving us a release or a sense of confidence that the products we buy or services we use aren’t just enriching some tax dodging space-faring billionaire. Social enterprises and tech for good can encompass apps that help us live more healthily or bring a service to a deprived/forgotten community. A youth centre or a NFP housing association, an app for mental health, a search engine for affordable renewable energy tariffs or a co-op enabling access to green spaces or even just making a common service or facility more accessible and bank account friendly. It can be broad, just needs to be improving peoples’ lives without any catches.
We acknowledge that some businesses were set up by those who could, with profit and dividends as the primary goal rather than delivering really brilliant and memorable experiences. Opportunities to “live, laugh and love” with those we’re closest to, or complete strangers… Most of us need somewhere to take our first date at some point, or a day out to pacify the kids, or a mortgage provider who isn’t going to skin you alive because you were made redundant 15 months ago and haven't been making ends meet.
Intersectionality. It’s all connected. A thriving community is one where people feel comfortable in their surroundings, knowing their needs are met and tech for good is facilitating that in many cases that don’t fall under the ESG umbrella, so we wanted you to know – we have your back too.
To fight, and overcome, the climate crisis we need healthy communities. Accepting, diverse, approachable, supportive, resilient - we all have a part to play.
If you enjoyed this blog, why not read some of our other blogs? Or get in contact with us if you require advice on recruitment within the sustainability sector.