Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Criteria

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Criteria

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially aware buyers use to screen potential investments. Environmental criteria consider how an organization performs as a steward of nature. Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with workers, suppliers, clients, and the communities where it operates. Governance offers with an organization’s leadership, executive pay, audits, inside controls, and shareholder rights.

How Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Criteria Work

Investors (notably younger generations) have, in recent years, shown interest in putting their money where their values are. As a result, brokerage firms and mutual fund corporations have started offering change-traded funds (ETFs) and other monetary products that comply with ESG criteria.

Types of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Criteria

There are three key parts to ESG investing—the environmental, social, and governance aspects.


Environmental criteria could include an organization’s energy use, waste, air pollution, natural resource conservation, and treatment of animals. The criteria can even help evaluate any environmental risks an organization would possibly face and the way the corporate is managing those risks.

For example, there is likely to be issues associated to its ownership of contaminated land, its disposal of hazardous waste, its management of toxic emissions, or its compliance with authorities environmental regulations.


Social criteria look at the company’s enterprise relationships. Does it work with suppliers that hold the same values as it claims to hold? Does the corporate donate a proportion of its profits to the native community or encourage workers to perform volunteer work there? Do the corporate’s working conditions show high regard for its staff’ health and safety? Are different stakeholders’ pursuits taken into account?


About governance, traders could want to know that a company uses accurate and transparent accounting methods and that stockholders are allowed to vote on vital issues.

They could additionally want assurances that firms avoid conflicts of curiosity of their selection of board members, don’t use political contributions to obtain unduly favorable remedy and, after all, don’t engage in illegal practices.

No single firm may pass each test in every category, in fact, so traders must determine what’s most vital to them and do the research.

Particular Considerations

On a practical level, investment firms that observe ESG criteria should additionally set priorities. For example, Boston-based Trillium Asset Management, with $4.eight billion under administration as of September 2021, makes use of a number of ESG factors to help determine companies positioned for sturdy long-time period performance.three

Decided in part by analysts who establish issues facing different sectors and industries, Trillium’s ESG criteria embody avoiding:

Corporations that operate in higher-risk areas or have publicity to coal or hard rock mining, nuclear or coal energy, private prisons, agricultural biotechnology, tobacco, tar sands, or weapons and firearms.

Or firms which have major or recent controversies with human rights, animal welfare, environmental concerns, governance issues, or product safety.

Things that Trillium seeks out or considers positive ESG criteria, embody:


Corporations that put out carbon or sustainability reports

Limits harmful pollution and chemical substances

Seeks to decrease greenhouse gas emissions

Makes use of renewable energy sources


Firms that operate an ethical provide chain

Helps LGBTQ rights and encourages diversity

Has insurance policies to protect against sexual misconduct

Pays truthful wages


Firms that embrace diversity on their board

Embraces corporate transparency

Employs a CEO unbiased of the board chair

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