Leveraging ESG for promoting Responsible Investment and Human Rights
By Danish and Daniel Uribe
The growing integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into investment frameworks and corporate reporting reflects a heightened recognition of the interplay between business operations and human rights. This Policy Brief examines the evolution of ESG investing, particularly its role in promoting responsible investment and embedding human rights considerations throughout business practices and supply chains. While ESG frameworks hold promise for enhancing corporate accountability and sustainability, challenges persist in effectively linking ESG criteria with human rights standards. It also shows that disparities in ESG reporting criteria and methodologies, compounded by a lack of shared understanding, pose obstacles to meaningful engagement with human rights responsibilities. The Policy Brief also delineates between ESG investing and reporting, highlighting distinct objectives and practices. While ESG investing aims to mitigate financial risks associated with environmental, social, and governance factors, ESG reporting focuses on evaluating firms’ exposure to ESG risks. The Policy Brief underscores the limitations of ESG frameworks in identifying and preventing human rights impacts comprehensively, emphasising the need for complementary measures such as mandatory human rights due diligence. Finally, the paper considers the need for greater coherence and consistency in ESG frameworks to foster responsible investment, promote human rights, and advance sustainable development goals.