TSC Blog

September 13, 2021 / by Terence Lyons / In Sustainability

Why sustainability is the biggest story telling opportunity for the next decade

Part 2. McKinsey & Co., and TSC.ai global ESG listening tour insights.

Forget CSR. ESG leaders agree unanimously that unlike ‘CSR’ predecessors (historically more likely to be ‘bolted on vs. baked in’ initiatives), ESG is driving a fundamental change to the business at every level. The tipping point has been the pace, volume, complexity and magnitude of external change in investment resources, policy and consumer and employee preference.

However, the sheer volume of expert, media, academic and business coverage on ESG can be daunting to non-initiates.

Feel the force. ESG leaders find explaining ESG internally as a set of positive forces (vs. mere risk mitigation) is beneficial. Forces include:

  • Investor funds
  • Consumer perception and preference
  • Employee attraction and motivation
  • Government requirement
  • Simply good business practice
  • Reduced risk (litigation, volatility, etc.)

ESG Opportunities

It’s a competition for ‘white space’. Sustainability may be the biggest story telling opportunity for the next decade. Yet with everyone now pushing an ESG narrative, it is a competitive play (for investment, employees, NGO leniency, policy neutrality, media share, consumer preference, etc.) and finding narrative ‘white space’ is difficult.

And Data led. Weaving together an inspiring, clear and coherent ‘value creation and loss prevention’ company-wide narrative is considered far from a solved problem. ESG leaders stress the need for a scientific and data driven approach to dynamically shape the ESG narrative.

This needs to support:

  1. Real-time ‘sense making’ of external signals;
  2. Benchmarking of peer group and sector narratives and initiatives;
  3. An adaptive and dynamic mapping of the key themes, keywords, and phrases.

Narrative tracking

Our next post will show how to connect this ESG narrative to the key networks.

These insights come from a McKinsey & Co., and TSC.ai global listening tour over 25 countries, 75 companies and 98 ESG leaders, sustainability professionals, chief risk officers, chief sustainability officers and strategy heads.

Download the New ESG Playbook here.

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