It’s the start of the new school year. Even with the shadow of COVID, most parents want similar things for their kids. They want them to make friends and feel happy and supported to do their best. As parents we’ll sometimes go to crazy lengths to help them shine. My girlfriend once stayed up all night to sew a costume for her 6 year-old because she found a note in the bottom of his bag saying they all needed to dress up as sheep. She dropped him at school next day, trailing loose cotton balls sewn onto a hastily repurposed bedsheet. She noticed, mortified, that the other kids had simply painted their faces and worn fluffy ears. You can’t get it right every time.
Your corporate partners need your help to make them shine with their customers, suppliers, investors and audiences. That’s why we’re seeing an increasing focus on ESG (environment, social and governance) measures.
What do you need to do differently?
ESG is important to corporates because it influences the external view of the corporate’s current and future performance. A good ESG score translates to better financial performance, lower cost of capital, better efficiency, lower operating costs and a stronger proposition for customers and employees.
Corporates are under pressure from governments and regulators to help solve tricky societal problems like pollution, diversity, equity and disadvantage. They’re also getting pressure from investors and activist shareholders to take action on important issues.
ESG scores are slippery little suckers. Measurement is focused more on how a corporate is perceived to be performing across the three areas and there are lots of different scoring systems. The inputs are typically a combination of company disclosure and publicly available information. That’s where your NFP comes in.
A corporate partner needs your help in social impact measurement. That means a shift from reporting the activities in your partnership to the actual impact and outcomes from the collaboration. NFP communications are an important input to ESG measures as they provide third party validation of what the corporate has achieved.
Your partnership will have a diverse range of impacts, not limited to social purpose. It’s likely that you’re helping with employee engagement and retention through your workplace activations. You may be generating a direct impact in the corporate’s environmental sustainability. You may be having a positive influence on a corporate’s accountability for diversity and inclusion. Think about the different dimensions of ESG and how you can help a corporate demonstrate their impact. They need your help, and it could be a deal breaker if you can’t provide the information they need. ESG scores are often linked to management KPIs and how the corporate is performing relative to others in the sector. If you can’t help them shine it hits both their wallet and their reputation. Then they’re likely to go elsewhere to an NFP that gives them what they need.
One final point about ESG. It’s not just for corporates, it’s for all organisations. Formalising policies and practices around ESG within non-profits can improve transparency and accountability and make you more attractive to future corporate partners. Leading by example and demonstrating your own commitment is very attractive to corporates and will help to build their trust for a longer-term partnership.
Don’t get caught out when a corporate asks for how you can help with ESG scores. You don’t want to be that parent who stays up all night to cobble something together. Help them shine by being ready to give them the information and the insights they need.