ESG momentum, now under strain, faces changing landscape: Podcast

The solid momentum that ESG objectives enjoyed in recent years has given way to a more strained landscape brought by a near-perfect storm of geopolitical, social, and economic forces

Companies, investors, and governments that are seeking to instill environmental, social & governance (ESG) initiatives throughout their operations are also the ones facing this strain — which ranges from standardization in ESG frameworks, increases in litigation activity, and closer scrutiny by regulators and are all representative of the monumental shifts across geographies concerning ESG issues.

Further, this shifting landscape is likely to continue into next year, according to a new podcast that discusses a recent Thomson Reuters special report.

In this week’s podcast available on the Thomson Reuters Institute channel, Lindsey Rogerson and Henry Engler, editors with Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence, speak with Natalie Runyon, director of ESG content for Thomson Reuters Institute, about the newly released SPECIAL REPORT: ESG Under Strain, which was published by the Thomson Reuters Institute and Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence. The report digs deep into the current challenges governments and companies are facing on the ESG front.

As the special report details and the podcast discusses, significant stress points have emerged among those organizations that in the past were leading champions of ESG issues, such as large asset managers and some governments. In fact, many former proponents have pulled back on planned ESG commitments due to uncertain economic conditions and a more precarious geopolitical climate made even more unsteady by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The podcast delves into the actions that corporations need to take to respond effectively to the dynamically changing environment.

Indeed, critics now warn that some shareholder ESG proposals were becoming too prescriptive and less palatable to investors; and that the war and its ripple effects, as well as how ESG has become a flashpoint for conservative politicians in the United States had changed the investment calculus for many.

In the podcast, Rogerson and Engler discuss these seismic changes that the sustainability landscape has experienced in the last year and what is driving these changes, especially in relation to ESG priorities. The podcast also delves into the actions that corporations need to take to respond effectively to the dynamically changing environment.

Most importantly, the podcast examines what may be on the horizon for ESG next year and how the current headwinds and tailwinds will impact corporate ESG progress in 2023 and beyond.

Episode transcript.

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