This article provides an overview about ESG Guidelines (Environmental, Social and Governance = ESG Guidelines). These resources can be used to implement ESG-criteria in your business, decisions and organization. These ESG Guidelines help to reduce risks for your business and provide guidance to show corporate responsibility in your industry:
Table of contents
- AA1000 Accountability Principles and Stakeholder Engagement Standard
- Social Accountability (SA) 8000 (workplace conditions)
- Accounting for Sustainability
- Cost Benefit Analysis
- ISO 26000
- OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
- ISO 14001: Environmental management systems
- ILO – International Labour Organisation Standards
- Global Reporting Initiative GRI
- IIRC (International Integrated Reporting Council)
- Social Life Cycle Assessment
- Environmental Life Cycle Assessment
- Rating: Sustainalytics
- Rating: S&P Dow Jones Indices
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
AA1000 Accountability Principles and Stakeholder Engagement Standard
The AA1000 AccountAbility Stakeholder Engagement Standard – the most widely applied stakeholder engagement standard – establishes the global benchmark for conducting high-quality stakeholder engagement projects and programs.
- Provides a simple, relevant, and practical framework to implement high-quality stakeholder engagement
- Outlines how to rethink an organization’s approach to engagement by empowering stakeholders as active contributors to value creation
- Describes how to integrate stakeholder engagement with an organization’s governance, strategy, and operations
Social Accountability (SA) 8000 (workplace conditions)
The SA8000 Standard is the world’s leading social certification program. The SA8000 Standard and Certification System provide a framework for organizations of all types, in any industry, and in any country to conduct business in a way that is fair and decent for workers and to demonstrate their adherence to the highest social standards. Created by SAI in 1997 as the first credible social certification, it has led the industry for over 20 years.
The SA8000 Standard is based on internationally recognized standards of decent work, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ILO conventions, and national laws. SA8000 applies a management-systems approach to social performance and emphasizes continual improvement—not checklist-style auditing.
Accounting for Sustainability
A4S aims to inspire action by finance leaders to drive a fundamental shift towards resilient business models and a sustainable economy. To do this, A4S has three core aims that underpin everything we do:
- Inspire finance leaders to adopt sustainable and resilient business models
- Transform financial decision making to enable an integrated approach, reflective of the opportunities and risks posed by environmental and social issues
- Scale up action across the global finance and accounting community
Other Resources are available at A4S
Cost Benefit Analysis
The EU cohesion policy aims to deliver growth and jobs together with the targets and objectives contained within the Europe 2020 strategy. Choosing the best quality projects which offer best value for money and which impact significantly on jobs and growth is a key ingredient of the overall strategy. In this framework, Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) is explicitly required, among other elements, as a basis for decision making on the co-financing of major projects included in operational programmes (OPs) of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund.
CBA is an analytical tool to be used to appraise an investment decision in order to assess the welfare change attributable to it and, in so doing, the contribution to EU cohesion policy objectives. The Guideline gives an good overview how to include non-financial (ESG) indicators in a business case.
It provides guidance to those who recognize that respect for society and environment is a critical success factor. As well as being the “right thing” to do, application of ISO 26000 is increasingly viewed as a way of assessing an organization’s commitment to sustainability and its overall performance.
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries. They provide non-binding principles and standards for responsible business conduct in a global context consistent with applicable laws and internationally recognised standards. The Guidelines are the only multilaterally agreed and comprehensive code of responsible business conduct that governments have committed to promoting.
ISO 14001: Environmental management systems
ISO 14001:2015 specifies the requirements for an environmental management system that an organization can use to enhance its environmental performance. ISO 14001:2015 is intended for use by an organization seeking to manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner that contributes to the environmental pillar of sustainability.
The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a premium management instrument developed by the European Commission for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report, and improve their environmental performance. EMAS is open to every type of organisation eager to improve its environmental performance. It spans all economic and service sectors and is applicable worldwide.
ILO – International Labour Organisation Standards
The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States , to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
Global Reporting Initiative GRI
GRI envisions a sustainable future enabled by transparency and open dialogue about impacts. This is a future in which reporting on impacts is common practice by all organizations around the world. As provider of world’s most widely used sustainability disclosure standards, we are a catalyst for that change.
IIRC (International Integrated Reporting Council)
The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) is a global coalition of regulators, investors, companies, standard setters, the accounting profession, academia and NGOs. The coalition promotes communication about value creation, preservation and erosion as the next step in the evolution of corporate reporting.
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is an independent nonprofit organization that sets standards to guide the disclosure of financially material sustainability information by companies to their investors. SASB Standards identify the subset of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues most relevant to financial performance in each of 77 industries. SASB also provides education and other resources that advance the use and understanding of its Standards.
Social Life Cycle Assessment
A social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) is a method that can be used to assess the social and sociological aspects of products, their actual and potential positive as well as negative impacts along the life cycle. This looks at the extraction and processing of raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, use, reuse, maintenance, recycling and final disposal. S-LCA makes use of generic and site-specific data, can be quantitative, semi-quantitative or qualitative, and complements the environmental LCA and LCC. It can either be applied on its own or in combination with the other techniques.
Environmental Life Cycle Assessment
E-LCA is a time tested assessment technique that evaluates environmental performance throughout the life cycle of a product or from performing a service. The extraction and consumption of resources (including energy), as well as releases to air, water, and soil, are quantified throughout all stages. Their potential contribution to environmental impact categories is then assessed. These categories include climate change, human and eco-toxicity, ionizing radiation, and resource base deterioration (e.g. water, non-renewable primary energy resources, land, etc.). The Life Cycle Initiative played a key role in the development of the life cycle assessment midpoint-damage framework, which conceptualizes the linkages between a product’s environmental interventions and their ultimate damage caused to human health, resource depletion and ecosystem quality – information which is of critical importance to decision makers.
Sustainalytics, a Morningstar Company, provides high-quality, analytical environmental, social and governance (ESG) research, ratings and data to institutional investors and companies.
Rating: S&P Dow Jones Indices
S&P Dow Jones Indices has introduced a new set of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores, giving investment professionals, analysts, and corporations insight into companies’ ESG performance. The scores leverage industry-acclaimed assessment data from renowned ESG data specialist, S&P Global ESG Research. S&P DJI ESG Scores are part of our broader suite of index-based solutions designed to address growing interest in ESG.
If you want to set-up an ESG performance management system in your company or if you’re planning to start or improve your sustainability reporting, contact us. We provide a wide range of support (management systems, reporting, rating, ESG Guidelines) for all topics associated with financial and non-financial-management.