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Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Criteria
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Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious 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, prospects, and the communities the place it operates. Governance deals with a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, inside controls, and shareholder rights.

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

Traders (notably younger generations) have, lately, shown curiosity in putting their cash the place their values are. In consequence, brokerage firms and mutual fund corporations have started providing alternate-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 embody an organization’s energy use, waste, pollution, natural resource conservation, and therapy of animals. The criteria can also help evaluate any environmental risks a company would possibly face and the way the company is managing these risks.

For instance, there could be points 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 firm’s business relationships. Does it work with suppliers that hold the identical values as it claims to hold? Does the corporate donate a share of its profits to the local community or encourage workers to perform volunteer work there? Do the corporate’s working conditions show high regard for its workers’ health and safety? Are other stakeholders’ pursuits taken under consideration?


About governance, buyers may wish to know that an organization uses accurate and clear accounting strategies and that stockholders are allowed to vote on necessary issues.

They might additionally want assurances that companies keep away from conflicts of interest in their alternative of board members, do not use political contributions to obtain unduly favorable therapy and, of course, don’t engage in illegal practices.

No single firm could pass every test in every category, in fact, so buyers must resolve what’s most important to them and do the research.

Special Considerations

On a practical level, investment firms that follow ESG criteria should additionally set priorities. For instance, Boston-based Trillium Asset Management, with $4.eight billion under management as of September 2021, uses a number of ESG factors to help determine companies positioned for robust long-term performance.three

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

Firms 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 major or latest controversies with human rights, animal welfare, environmental concerns, 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 pollution and chemical substances

Seeks to decrease greenhouse gas emissions

Makes use of renewable energy sources


Corporations that operate an ethical supply chain

Helps LGBTQ rights and encourages diversity

Has insurance policies to protect against sexual misconduct

Pays fair wages


Corporations that embrace diversity on their board

Embraces corporate transparency

Employs a CEO unbiased of the board chair

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