We often come across the terms ‘NetZero’ and ‘sustainability’. Our Prime Minister has pledged in COP 27 that India aims to achieve Net Zero by 2070 and aims to substitute the source of 50% of electricity with renewable sources by 2030. Many such pledges are made by countries globally. And all these promises and efforts are a result of nations joining hands to give effect to the Paris Agreement together.
As far as we can remember, a few decades ago, majorly two fields ‘Medical’ and ‘Engineering’ were the mainstream career options according to the general public perception. As times changed, various other fields emerged that people considered lucrative to build a career out of it. But even if someone would have questioned 2 years ago, how is the career of an ESG expert? One would have expected a negative answer. But today, the career of an ESG expert in the present and coming times is expected to be nothing less than bright and this can be claimed with a lot of confidence. What changes the last few years brought can not only be seen but also evidently felt. In fact, according to Indeed, a popular job site, jobs in the ESG industry grew by 468% in India over the last three years. Whereas, ESG gained momentum in India much later than EU and the USA. So the career graph of an ESG expert outside India can be imagined.
The demand for sustainability has never been higher and thus ESG is maturing with each passing day. A mirror showcasing the urgency to act upon climate change led to a change in the vision of people. It offered people a fresh lens to look at value-driven and socially responsible companies as opposed to the orthodox assessment of companies which was only driven by financial numbers. Now, the investors are concerned about the company’s performance on the environmental, social and governance front. They do not wish to put their money in companies that still don’t understand their responsibility towards climate change and are not innovating in the direction of sustainability. They know that their money is valuable and should not be invested in companies that support child labour, that does not value their employees and that breed a negative work culture. Investors have already lost a lot of their money to fraudulent governance practices and wish to learn from their mistakes. Now, companies that do not cater to investor sentiments will soon be losers of the century. They have to roll their sleeves up and integrate ESG within its values and they realise that it cannot be done without the help of ESG experts.
The regulatory framework around ESG is also getting stringent and companies want to minimize the risk of penalties and hefty fines arising from non-compliance of ESG regulatory norms. For instance, the SEBI has mandated Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) for the top 1000 listed companies in India. Similarly, on a global level, business corporations today are subjected to ESG reporting in accordance with recognized ESG frameworks such as GRI, TCFD, SASB, NFRD or others. They are also subjected to ESG ratings on public platforms which can significantly influence investment decisions. ESG professionals can help institutions with ESG assessment, data collection, reporting and tracking. The regulations are bound to expand in the coming times and institutes will need ESG experts who could act as a watchdog overseeing ESG regulatory compliances.
Therefore ESG as a concept is booming across the globe. The need for ESG experts is not only confined to companies but their presence is now demanded in consultancy firms, investment firms and NGOs as well. It is because their expertise, guidance and intellect on the subject can propel an organization’s sustainability and financial outcomes. Their knowledge can assist corporations to come up with ways to mitigate potential ESG risks. On the contrary, the dearth of ESG experts in an organization can significantly affect a company’s performance in a negative manner as it would have to face a lot of barriers in achieving its ESG goals.
A profession that nobody imagined would gain so much prominence today is one of the mainstream career paths an individual could choose. The need for ESG professionals outweighs the availability of such professionals and thus you should grab this opportunity as it could be extremely rewarding. It’s all about timing they say and the timing cannot be better than the present moment to dive into the ESG world as a professional and make a difference to the world. Also on the salary front, the situation is such that they demand a figure and they get it because there are not many competitors due to which companies do not have a lot of options to choose from. In addition to attractive salaries, ESG experts also enjoy a sense of satisfaction because of the revolutionary nature of the job.
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