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 acutely aware buyers use to screen potential investments. Environmental criteria consider how a company performs as a steward of nature. Social criteria study how it manages relationships with workers, suppliers, clients, and the communities the place it operates. Governance offers with an organization’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.

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

Investors (notably youthful generations) have, in recent times, shown curiosity in putting their cash the place their values are. Consequently, brokerage firms and mutual fund firms have started providing alternate-traded funds (ETFs) and other financial 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 embrace an organization’s energy use, waste, air pollution, natural resource conservation, and treatment of animals. The criteria can also assist evaluate any environmental risks a company might face and how the company is managing those risks.

For instance, there could be issues related to its ownership of contaminated land, its disposal of hazardous waste, its management of toxic emissions, or its compliance with government environmental regulations.


Social criteria look at the company’s business relationships. Does it work with suppliers that hold the same values as it claims to hold? Does the corporate donate a percentage of its profits to the native community or encourage employees to perform volunteer work there? Do the company’s working conditions show high regard for its employees’ health and safety? Are other stakeholders’ interests taken into consideration?


About governance, traders might wish to know that an organization uses accurate and clear accounting methods and that stockholders are allowed to vote on essential issues.

They might also need assurances that firms avoid conflicts of curiosity in their alternative of board members, don’t use political contributions to acquire unduly favorable remedy and, of course, do not engage in illegal practices.

No single company could pass each test in every category, in fact, so traders need to determine what’s most important to them and do the research.

Particular Considerations

On a practical level, funding firms that follow ESG criteria should additionally set priorities. For instance, Boston-based mostly Trillium Asset Administration, with $4.eight billion under management as of September 2021, makes use of a collection of ESG factors to help determine corporations positioned for strong lengthy-time period performance.three

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

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

Or companies that have main or latest controversies with human rights, animal welfare, environmental issues, governance issues, or product safety.

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


Firms that put out carbon or sustainability reports

Limits dangerous pollutants and chemicals

Seeks to lower greenhouse gas emissions

Uses renewable energy sources


Firms that operate an ethical provide chain

Supports LGBTQ rights and encourages diversity

Has policies to protect towards sexual misconduct

Pays fair wages


Firms that embrace diversity on their board

Embraces corporate transparency

Employs a CEO unbiased of the board chair

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