• ESG and DEI are important trends in business, representing an opportunity to drive lasting change 

  • However, despite investors increasingly considering these non-financial criteria in their decision-making process, adoption in tangible ways by businesses is slow

  • Unreasonable is attempting to accelerate and bolster this movement by attracting new corporate partners to their global DEI initiative Unreasonable opportunity

Environmental, social and corporate governance (or ESG) is the umbrella term describing the components of a firm that relate to its sustainability and responsible use of its finances. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (or DEI) includes ensuring that corporate processes are impartial, with the possibility of equal opportunities for each individual. Sadly, despite the obvious importance and necessity for these factors in business - they are simply not present in all organisations.

All too often, DEI is limited to a mere session of compulsory annual training on the subject. Although investors are increasingly incorporating the non-financial factors of ESG into their decision-making processes, this is not regularly mirrored in business - where ESG metrics are rarely included in mandatory financial reporting. The difficulty in adoption is believed to be because every business is expected to individually tackle the issue of implementing these two standards, when real change can only arise through corporate collaboration.

The State of Corporate ESG

Put simply, ESG refers to the disclosure of data that expounds the way a firm impacts and benefits its surroundings. Non-financial factors such as sustainability and environmentalism are increasingly becoming part of the analysis of a company’s objective risks and opportunities for growth.

Furthermore, a number of institutions - including the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) - are attempting to develop criteria and objectivity, in the hope that this will help to tangibly incorporate these factors into corporate processes.

The Importance Of DEI In The Workplace

Organisations refusing to implement DEI policies necessarily make themselves weaker by failing to capitalise on their peoples’ potential to the fullest extent. It was revealed by a McKinsey & Company study tracking the various performance levels of companies with different levels of workplace diversity that companies demonstrating diversity in the ethnic and gender spectrums were between 15%-35% better equipped to edge out less diverse competitors.

Daniel Epstein Daniel Epstein Photo: Daniel Epstein

How This Is Changing

Unreasonable is a global company that believes business is powerful enough to fuel lasting, tangible change in society. They establish bridges between growth-stage entrepreneurs, institutions and investors to uncover profit whilst resolving global problems. So far, a strong community of entrepreneurs has been amassed around the group, influencing trillion-dollar industries and drastically improving the lives of over 700 million people.

Daniel Epstein, Unreasonable founder and CEO, says “The only way to solve our biggest social and environmental challenges is to work together, because there is no equity without rights to education, healthcare and financial inclusion, and no social justice without a shift in governance and the ambition towards providing decent work and social protection.”  

Epstein continues: “This is why at Unreasonable we believe in the power of collaborative advantage, creating partnerships between entrepreneurs, corporations and institutions to profitably solve today’s most pressing problems at scale and speed.”

Eligible ventures are handpicked and directly invited into the Unreasonable Fellowship, which focuses on five key impact themes: education, energy and environment, food and water, health and new frontiers. Those ventures are then helped in creating value through scaling.

The upcoming Unreasonable Opportunity project is a three year collaboration focusing on positively impacting 12m marginalised and under-represented young people by 2025. It has already received commitment from The Fossil Foundation and the company is now searching for additional partners to join them on this global initiative.

Final Statement

On balance, ESG is even more important in light of recent events; phenomena such as COVID-19 and climate change illustrate that we are responsible for looking after our environment and society. Businesses possess the initiative to accomplish these positive societal changes - both environmentally and socially - but require some guidance.

Repurposing capitalism in the collaborative way envisioned by Unreasonable appears to be the only means to strengthen the trends of DEI and ESG to enable them to improve society in the future.