Drawing in like-minded business allies is essential for any company looking to make an impact on a large scale. However, simply stating your ambitions isn't enough; you need to take action and be able to show progress. That's where having an impact strategy comes in. By integrating ESG goals into your business model and strategic orientation, you will be taking a step forward towards greater impact. And by recording your progress with the ESG metrics that are most aligned with the value your organization seeks to contribute to the world, you will be able to attract higher profile stakeholders and investors who will visibly see your commitment to Environmental and Social Governance as a way of making business work responsibly.

But ESG is not about impressing potential investors; it's about making an organization more sustainable and resilient. Investors are skilled at defining near-term success metrics for businesses, and they are increasingly engaging with the ones who have a data-driven roadmap to deliver long-term results. So by tracking your progress in ESG terms, you will not only be able to show potential investors that you mean business - you'll also be able to leverage your analytics to make your business even more sustainable and resilient.

How to Create Strong ESG Business Goals

So if you're looking to take your impact strategy a step further, integrating Environmental and Social Governance into your business model is the way to go. Here are some tips for creating strong ESG goals to start stepping your business forward: 

  • Align Your Goals: Set goals that are in line with your company's purpose and culture.

  • Keep it Simple: Having too many goals will only make it harder to track progress and could lead to stagnation.

  • Make it Measurable: Without data, you won't be able to track your progress or show investors how well you're doing. 

  • Be Resilient: Investors want to see companies that are prepared for the future, so build resilience into your goal setting. 

If you can follow these steps, you'll be on your way to creating strong ESG business goals that will attract longer-term focused allies and help make your company more sustainable. But remember, this is only the first step – once you've set your goals, you need to track and take action on your progress as you record it. 

How to Track Your ESG Goal Progress

There are many ways to track progress on your ESG goals, but one of the most important things is to be consistent. That means setting up a system and sticking to it – whether that's a simple spreadsheet application or a more complex software solution. But tracking your progress is not only about being consistent; it's also about being accurate. Inaccurate data will only lead to frustration and could even cause you to miss opportunities. 

Some key notes to remember when tracking your ESG progress are: 

  • Be Consistent: Set up a system and stick to it.

  • Be Accurate: Inaccurate data will only lead to frustration.

  • Set Reminders: Don't let your progress fall by the wayside. Set reminders to keep you on track.

How to Present Your ESG Data to Investors

Now that you've set strong ESG goals and are tracking your progress, it's time to start talking to investors. When it comes to presenting your company's strengths, there are a few key things to keep in mind: 

  • Be clear: Investors want to see your vision coming through performance-defining decisions. Be clear about your goals, your progress, and what you're looking for from them. 

  • Be honest: Investors can sense when a company is being truthful, so be honest about your successes and failures. 

  • Be data-driven: As we mentioned before, investors want to see businesses that rely on facts. 

By following these tips, you'll be on your way to presenting your company in the best light possible to potential investors. And with strong ESG goals, you're sure to attract the right kind of attention. So don't wait – start setting those goals and get tracking! 

If you are looking for a roadmap to make Environmental and Social Governance an integral part of your organizational learning and how it can benefit your business, read more in my book, The Impact Challenge online, here. Don’t forget that all author royalties benefit the Global Association for Research Methods and Data Science and help advance real-time collaboration between academics and practitioners through open data platforms.

About the Author

ALESSIA FALSARONE, SASB FSA, is a sustainable finance expert and a fellow of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program. Her work bridges the gap between sustainability, financial innovation and risk management. A sought-after commentator for media outlets and contributor to academic programs, Ms. Falsarone is a member of high-level advisory groups that promote environmental and climate finance, including the G20 Environmental Ministerial, the London Stock Exchange, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (Value Reporting Foundation) and the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. In recognition of her innovative vision for business and society, she has received an Honoree Award from the Women’s Venture Fund and the 2021 Global Leadership Award by the SheInspires Foundation in the UK.

She is an alumna of Stanford University, the MIT Sloan School of Business and Bocconi University. Ms. Falsarone holds certified director status with the National Association of Corporate Directors. An avid advocate of sustainability in business education, she has contributed to educational initiatives on the topic at the Asian University for Women, the Society of Corporate Compliance, the Swiss Sustainable Finance Initiative, the United Nations, the World Bank, Stanford University and University of Chicago, including delivering training on climate risk and green finance in Asia Pacific and Latin America.

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