What Is ESG? Understanding the Three Principles and Their Benefits

ESG or environmental, social and governance, is a set of standards that investors use to gauge a company’s performance in sustainability and ethical practices. It’s a holistic view of how organisations are making a positive impact on the world beyond just financial returns.

This article will explore the meaning of ESG, its three principles and their benefits for both sustainable investing and corporate responsibility.

Defining ESG and Its Three Principles

ESG consists of three main principles: environmental ethics, social solidarity and governance guidance. Each principle has a distinct focus, but together they provide a comprehensive framework for sustainable and responsible business practice.

1. Environmental Ethics

The environmental principle emphasises a company’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint.

Key factors within this principle include:

Carbon Emissions and Climate Change

Companies are evaluated on their efforts to reduce or offset carbon emissions and address the impacts of climate change. This includes implementing energy-efficient practices and setting targets for emission reductions.

Resource Efficiency and Conservation

The responsible use of resources is also a crucial aspect of the environmental principle. Companies are expected to conserve resources such as water and have sustainable waste management practices in place.

Pollution Control

ESG also looks at a company’s efforts to minimise pollution in its operations. This can include measures such as using clean energy sources and reducing harmful emissions.

Waste Management

Proper waste management is a key component of the environmental principle. Companies are expected to have a system in place for recycling, reducing waste and disposing of hazardous materials responsibly.

2. Social Solidarity

The social principle focuses on how companies interact with their communities and employees.

Important aspects of this principle are:

Community Engagement and Impact

A company’s level of community involvement and the impact of its operations on local communities are significant components of the social principle. The importance of this aspect cannot be overstated, as businesses do not exist in a vacuum; they are part of our society. Companies are evaluated on whether they positively contribute to the communities in which they operate.

Furthermore, a company’s contribution to local economic development and how it addresses any negative impacts are also significant considerations. A company with robust community engagement is often seen as having strong social responsibility, fostering trust and goodwill among its stakeholders.

Diversity and Inclusion

ESG also looks at a company’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within its workforce. This includes gender, race, ethnicity, age and other aspects of diversity. Companies that prioritise diversity and actively work towards creating an inclusive workplace are seen as more socially responsible.

Labour Practices

The treatment of employees and respect for human rights are also crucial aspects of the social principle. Companies are evaluated on their labour practices, including fair wages, safe working spaces and employee benefits.

Human Rights

ESG also considers whether companies uphold fundamental human rights in their operations, such as not using child labour and respecting workers’ rights to unionise. Companies should also be aware of how their operations may impact the rights of the communities in which they operate.

3. Governance Guidance

The governance principle pertains to the management of companies. This principle encompasses several important factors to consider, such as:

Board Structure and Independence

The governance principle pertains to the management structure and the independence of its board members. A diverse, independent board with strong oversight is seen as an indicator of good corporate governance.


ESG evaluates if companies have a code of ethics in place to guide decision-making and promote transparency. This includes clear communication with stakeholders, accurate reporting of financial information and ethical policies for employees.


Transparency and accountability are crucial for good governance. Companies are expected to have transparent practices, including disclosing information about their operations and performance. Accountability is also vital; companies must be responsible for their actions and take responsibility when things go wrong.

Executive Compensation

ESG also considers executive compensation as part of the governance principle. Companies are evaluated on whether their executive pay aligns with company performance and is in line with industry standards.

Why Is ESG Important in Various Sectors?

ESG principles serve as a driving force for positive transformation in industries such as mining, civil engineering and the energy sector. These sectors, due to their significant interactions with the environment and society, find ESG principles invaluable in enhancing their positive impacts and fostering sustainable practices.

In the mining industry, for example, the adoption of ESG principles leads to proactive measures such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, responsibly managing waste and safeguarding the safety and rights of workers. This approach not only mitigates potential environmental damage but also promotes social welfare, contributing to a more sustainable and socially responsible mining industry.

In the energy sector, ESG principles are guiding a significant transition towards clean, renewable energy sources, moving away from fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. Beyond environmental considerations, this sector is also making strides in upholding social and governance standards, such as ensuring equitable access to energy and maintaining responsible business practices.

Role of ESG Score for Investors

For investors, the ESG score is a valuable tool to assess the overall sustainability and social responsibility of a company. A higher ESG score indicates that a company is actively working towards positive environmental and social impacts while maintaining strong governance practices. This information helps investors make more informed decisions when choosing where to invest their money.

Business Advantages Through ESG Integration

Integrating ESG principles into business practices can lead to many benefits for companies, including:

  • Enhanced reputation: Companies that prioritise ESG are viewed positively by stakeholders, leading to a better overall reputation.
  • Access to capital: Investors and financial institutions are increasingly looking at ESG performance when deciding where to invest their funds.
  • Risk management: By proactively addressing environmental, social and governance issues, companies can mitigate potential risks and avoid costly consequences.
  • Innovation and efficiency: Adopting sustainable practices can drive innovation, leading to cost savings and increased efficiency, benefiting both the company and the environment.
  • Enhanced operational efficiency: ESG principles promote responsible resource management, leading to reduced waste and increased efficiency in operations. This, in turn, can result in cost savings for the company.

How Erizon Offering Can Help You Achieve ESG Performance

We are committed to sustainability and actively incorporate ESG principles into our operations. We offer a range of innovative, environmentally friendly solutions such as dust control, erosion control, mine rehabilitation and more.

Our products and services help companies in the mining, civil engineering and energy sectors achieve their ESG goals by reducing their environmental impact and promoting sustainable practices.

Partner with Erizon for a Sustainable Future

By aligning your organisation with ESG principles, you can contribute to a sustainable future. Partner with Erizon to achieve your ESG performance goals and make a positive impact on the environment, society and economy.

Interested in learning more about ESG and its contribution to sustainability? Read here.