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Current ESG Trends to Watch for 2024

Dec 1, 2023 | Blog

ESG has become more necessary than ever for businesses and investors as the world struggles with climate change, social injustice, and global health problems. If companies embrace ESG trends in 2024, they can attain a remarkable brand reputation, gain tremendous customer loyalty, and reduce risk while contributing to a more sustainable future. Apart from financial gains, investors increasingly seek investments which are in accordance with their beliefs.

The rising significance of ESG has drastically altered how businesses and investors think about sustainability. ESG factors were once widely considered “nice-to-haves” rather than essential factors in company and investment choices. Yet, as ESG has gained popularity, businesses and investors are adopting a more comprehensive strategy, integrating ESG factors into their business plans and decision-making procedures.

This post will explore the burgeoning ESG future trends likely to influence business and investing in 2024. We will look at the most recent advancements in ESG and their effects on organizations and investors, from broadening ESG criteria to using new technologies for ESG research. Companies and investors may position themselves for long-term success while helping to create a more sustainable and fair society by staying ahead of these trends.

ESG Trends to Follow In 2024

1- A Data-Driven Approach to ESG

The use of data by businesses and investors to assess and manage their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance has become increasingly common over the last few years. In 2024, this trend is expected to continue, with a focus on data-driven ESG initiatives across a variety of industries.

Among the major forces influencing these ESG trends in 2024 are:

  • The Requirement for More Accurate and Reliable ESG Data: ESG data solutions are becoming increasingly important in decision-making for investors and businesses. As a result, there is now a higher need for ESG data that is more accurate and reliable.
  • Technology and Data Analytics Advancements: Collecting, analyzing, and reporting ESG data is now simpler due to technological and data analytics developments. This has contributed to the shift toward an ESG strategy that is data-driven.
  • Stakeholder and Regulatory Pressure: Investors and organizations are under growing pressure from authorities and stakeholders to report on their ESG performance and consider ESG factors when making investment choices. This has contributed to the shift toward an ESG strategy that is data-driven.
  • Possibilities for Enhanced Performance and Risk Administration: Companies may discover opportunities for ESG performance improvement and enhance ESG risk management by using a data-driven approach to ESG.

2- Robust Global Frameworks Promoting Transparency

The necessity for more robust global frameworks to address environmental and social issues, including climate change, socioeconomic inequality, and human rights breaches, has become more widely acknowledged in recent years. As a result, a push for more accountability and transparency has been made in several industries, including banking, corporate governance, and supply chain management.

In 2024, this pattern is anticipated to continue as stronger international frameworks are created and implemented to address these issues. Among the major forces influencing these trends in ESG are:

  • Greater Understanding of Social and Environmental Risks: The risks to the environment and society that the world is experiencing, such as socioeconomic inequality, climate change, and human rights breaches, are becoming more widely understood. There is a higher need for accountability and transparency to address these concerns.
  • Putting More Emphasis on ESG Factors: Investors have begun considering environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors when making investment decisions as they attempt to control risk and achieve sustainability over the long term. This has provided the impetus for more transparency and sharing of data relating to ESG.
  • Encourages Greater Corporate Accountability: Companies are under more and more pressure to take accountability for their social and environmental repercussions and to be open and honest about their performance. This has prompted calls for increased accountability and transparency in supply chain management and corporate governance.
  • The Development of Global Standards and Regulations: Global standards and frameworks, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, are becoming increasingly necessary to solve environmental and social concerns. In addressing these challenges, these frameworks offer a foundation for increased accountability and transparency.

3- A Strong Push for Impact Investing

Most investors are looking to match their investments with their beliefs and social or environmental objectives, which has given rise to the movement known as impact investing. Impact investing is investing in businesses, nonprofits, or funds to achieve a measurable social or environmental effect.

As investors become more conscious of the environmental and social concerns confronting the world and strive to utilize their assets to make a positive change, impact investing has gained popularity in recent years. With a strong push for impact investment across various industries and asset classes, this ESG market trend is anticipated to continue in 2024.

Among the major forces influencing this trend are:

  • Growing Demand for Ethical and Sustainable Investing Choices: Investors are looking for possibilities to make investments consistent with their morals and environmental or social objectives. As a result, there is an increase in demand for ethical and sustainable investing solutions, such as impact investments.
  • Increasing Understanding of the Global, Social, and Environmental Concerns: The urgency of addressing global issues, including social injustice, climate change, and access to healthcare and education, is becoming more widely acknowledged. Impact investing offers a method for investors to support these initiatives while also earning profit.
  • Enhancing the Availability of Impact Investing Options: The variety of impact investment choices accessible to investors has increased as impact investing has grown in popularity. Among them are impacted funds, green bonds, and other investment options focusing on the social factor.
  • Possibility of Substantial Financial Gains: Impact investment has been proven to offer the potential for high financial returns, particularly over the long term. This has made drawing investors from a broader spectrum easier for the area.
current esg trends

4- Approaching Net-Zero Holistically:

It is becoming more apparent that a holistic strategy is required to solve the complex challenges of decarbonization as businesses and governments commit themselves to reach net-zero emissions. With this strategy, the social, economic, and environmental effects of emissions reduction initiatives are considered together with the complete lifecycle of emissions, from production through end-of-life disposal.

A comprehensive approach to this trend in ESG requires a variety of techniques and initiatives, including

  • Switching To Renewable Energy: Moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal is crucial for attaining net-zero emissions. This can entail investing in infrastructure for renewable energy sources and putting regulations into place to encourage the switch to clean energy.
  • Decarbonizing Supply Chains: Reducing emissions across the whole supply chain is necessary to achieve net-zero emissions and decrease emissions from direct activities. This may entail collaborating with suppliers to increase sustainability standards and minimize emissions, as well as considering the carbon footprint of raw materials and transportation.
  • Putting in Place Carbon Trading and Pricing Mechanisms: Carbon pricing tools like carbon taxes or cap-and-trade programs can encourage businesses to invest in greener technology and promote emissions reduction.
  • Promoting the Circular Economy’s Principles: Reducing waste and recycling or reusing materials are critical components of a circular economy strategy to reduce production and consumption’s adverse environmental effects. Implementing policies to encourage circularity and revamping goods and processes to be more circular might be part of this.
  • Investment in Carbon Removal Technologies: The employment of carbon removal technologies, such as direct air capture or carbon sequestration to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, may be necessary to reach net-zero emissions.

5- Advancing Sustainability Through 5G

The introduction of 5G technology has the potential to improve sustainability initiatives in various ways. The most recent cellular network technology, 5G, provides faster speeds, reduced latency, and more capacity than earlier generations. These ESG technological trends may significantly affect sustainability in the following  

  • Reducing Carbon Emissions and Enabling Remote Work: By enabling more widespread remote work, 5G technology can reduce everyday commuting and the corresponding carbon emissions. Also, this may aid in easing traffic congestion and enhancing urban air quality.
  • Enabling Smart Cities and Minimizing Resource Usage: Smart cities employ real-time data to optimize resource usage and lower waste, and 5G technology can help make this possible. Smart waste management systems, for instance, have potential to reduce the quantity of garbage dumped in landfills while reducing pollutants and traffic congestion.
  • Facilitating Precision Farming and Minimizing Environmental Effect: Precision agriculture, which uses real-time data to enhance agricultural yields and lessen environmental impact, can also be made possible by 5G technology. Farmers may maximize their use of water, fertilizer, and other resources, eliminating waste and having a minimal environmental impact, by employing sensors and other IoT devices connected via 5G networks.
  • Promoting Renewable Energy While Decreasing Reliance on Fossil Fuels: By facilitating the grid integration of more renewable sources, 5G technology can aid in the transition to renewable energy. To increase solar and wind power usage, 5G networks, for instance, can enable more effective energy storage and delivery.
  • Accelerating Communication and Computation: The use of 5G ensures faster communication, computation and analysis of ESG data and news, promoting up-to-date ratings and assessments as well as documentation of significant developments.

In Conclusion,

we anticipate several new ESG trends to emerge in 2024 that will influence how businesses and investors tackle environmental, social, and governance challenges. These trends include the expansion of ESG criteria, a stronger emphasis on social issues, the inclusion of ESG in investment decisions, the advancement of sustainability through 5G, a comprehensive approach to net-zero, a strong push for impact investing, more robust international frameworks with an emphasis on transparency, and a path to ESG that is data-driven.

To stay on top of the game, companies and investors must adapt and respond as these emerging ESG trends change. They may benefit from Inrate’s ESG consulting by learning to manage these developments and creating efficient plans for handling ESG opportunities and risks. With over 30 years of experience in ESG consulting and sustainable financing, Inrate offers indispensable expertise when it comes to professional advice on ESG-related matters.

ESG factors will undoubtedly become more significant in decision-making as we progress toward a more sustainable future in various industries. Companies and investors may position themselves for long-term success and sustainability by keeping up with new ESG trends and collaborating with experienced ESG consultants like Inrate.

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