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Article

12 Jul 2021

Author:
Shift

The ‘S’ in ESG: Measuring the Social Performance of a Company in a way that Matters

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ESG investing has been around for at least two decades. Yet, the ‘S’ in ESG has been the ‘poor cousin in the trio’, receiving limited attention and often subject to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. The realities of COVID and its disproportionate impacts on low-paid workers, minorities and marginalized communities are widely seen as a turning point, bringing much greater focus to companies’ social performance.

In this week’s episode, we talk to Geeta Aiyer about the changes now underway, as companies, investors and regulators work to better define and analyze the ‘S’ in ESG. We discuss continuing demands for short-term returns to shareholders alongside growing expectations that companies do business in ways that ensure respect for people. We also explore what investors look for in a company to know whether it is serious about tackling its social risks and what that implies for the kind of information it’s important for investors to have.

ABOUT THIS EPISODE’S GUEST

Geeta Aiyer combines over 30 years of experience in finance, with a passion for environmental and social justice. As President & Founder of BOSTON COMMON ASSET MANAGEMENT, she has built a strong investment record, and meaningfully improved the policies and practices of portfolio companies through impactful, proactive Shareowner Engagement. Geeta serves on the Board and Investment Committee of NRDC and on the Board of the Better Future Project in Massachusetts. She is co-founder and board chair of DAWN Worldwide, an NGO addressing gender-based violence. Geeta has previously served on the boards of the Sierra Club Foundation, and YW Boston. From 2015-2017, she served on the Board of UN PRI.

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