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The Rise of ESG: Business Drivers and Treasury Imperatives

More and more treasurers are getting involved in environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives. Not only financing them but also embedding them into treasury processes and spearheading departmental sustainability projects. 

ESG is now widely recognised as an opportunity to innovate, add value, improve risk management, and contribute to long-term growth. The importance that C-level executives is placing on ESG reflects this evolving outlook.

Research from the Boston College Centre for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC) found that, compared to five years ago, nearly 75% more companies are now directing corporate social responsibility (CSR) from the C-Suite [1]. This sends a very clear message about the growing need for corporate organisations to think and act responsibly.

Momentum is growing

One powerful driver of the C-suite’s focus on ESG is the issuance of global standards and agreements in this space. Since the UN issued its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 and the Paris Climate Agreement was negotiated in December 2015, many large corporations have started to make a stand on ESG. And at HSBC, the SDGs set the context for our long-term ambition, aligning our values, conduct and 
business activity [2].