Publications

- May 1, 2018: Vol. 30, Number 5

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Why now? Health, well-being and the evolution of ESG

by Stephanie Timm, Whitney Austin Gray and Craig James

Corporate value is starting to pivot on environmental, social and governance (ESG) elements, but understanding exactly what elements are material, and how to measure them, is a significant challenge in the investment community. Promotion of employee health and well-being has become an important material element in many industries, and currently is not adequately captured by ESG reporting agencies. Therefore, the key questions are: Why are health and well-being material? And why is it important to incorporate health and well-being in ESG assessments now?

Investors have struggled with inconsistent collection, quality and coverage of ESG data for quite some time. Most reporting agencies’ current views of “health,” for example, are limited to traditional occupational health and safety measures focused largely on manual work (e.g., construction, factory and textile workers). Global Reporting Initiative Standards, for instance, only require disclosure on health items, such as

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