over the past After many years, environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives have taken the business world by storm. The bottom line didn’t matter all that much. Customers and investors alike wanted to hear how companies were tackling a range of ESG issues, from climate change to diversity, equity and inclusion.
More recently, the model has come under increasing fire. Unstable macroeconomic conditions coupled with political attacks on ESG principles, a strong push for profit over growth, and an energy crisis in Europe gave some companies cover to cut back on their promises, especially if they were fully committed from the start. were not committed.
To be clear, many companies are making considerable efforts to reduce their carbon pollution, an effort that falls under the larger umbrella of ESG considerations. This could include using cleaner energy sources for manufacturing, more environmentally friendly packaging for consumer goods, or choosing cloud providers that strive to run the most energy efficient data centers.
Although companies are poised to become a greener organization, the question is whether they are living up to their promises, especially as the economic situation gets tighter. For some, ESG commitments are more about appearances than action. Unfortunately, the 2023 Google Cloud Sustainability Survey suggests that executive resolve is slipping. That, or those who were only in it for the marketing advantage, are starting to come clean.
For proof, the survey found that this year, economic pressures have pushed ESG concerns to third place on organizations’ list of priorities, up from the top spot last year. “Many executives point to the deteriorating macroeconomic environment and pressure from outside parties to cut corners in their sustainability initiatives and prioritize customer relationships and driving revenue,” the report said.
Google commissioned the Harris Poll to survey 1,476 VPs and C-Suite executives from around the world across various industry sectors. The report found that the number of sustainability projects being implemented as opposed to only planned was down 8% compared to the previous year.