“Capital with a Conscience” is the motto of Carole Crist, the Former First Lady of Florida, who now focuses on philanthropy and investing in ESG enterprises. Coming from a long-time family business, she understands how businesses depend on natural resources and loyal employees. A firm must also embrace transparency as part of demonstrating leadership integrity.
What is ESG?
ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. These three components are the building blocks of sustainability and can be measured by ratings or scores. An increasing number of companies are beginning to provide these ratings to investors in their annual reports.
Investors are taking an interest in these ratings and other evidence that shows companies are adopting sustainability practices. The reason sustainability is becoming an escalating issue is because it relates to public safety, future growth, finance, supply chains, labor, diversity, technology and business survival.
Long-term investors want to know they are investing in firms that aim for longevity, rather than just quick returns. They also want to steer clear of companies that are headed for huge fines and lawsuits due to environmental destruction, lack of social responsibility and poorly-run management.
While some companies create their own metrics for measuring their company’s environmental, social and governance performance, many others rely on third-party data providers to generate ESG ratings. Some of these services include the DowJones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), as well as various prominent financial firms.
Going green is more than a trend. It’s becoming a widely adopted practice by businesses and individuals for the sake of protecting our Earth. Some of the ways a company can achieve high environmental scores are getting their commercial property LEED-certified and adopting a net-zero by 2050 policy. That means investing in solar panels or other eco-friendly technology.
Businesses can also go more green by selecting suppliers committed to eco-friendly materials and solutions. Real estate investors can go greener by investing in properties installed with solar panels or other forms of renewable energy. Another way to go more green is to reduce waste by investing in energy-saving measures and sending old items to recyclers.
Carole invests in companies that resonate with her social views, which includes helping women move up in the business world. As president, she ran her family business the Franco-American Novelty Company from 2000 to 2012. She now serves on boards of local and national charities and hosts galas for various organizations including the American Red Cross and the Angel Foundation for Cancer Research.
Working toward social causes is now important to investors because it shows an organization exists for purposes beyond profits. Showing support for the community and making contributions to the local economy are goals that can help a company thrive and gain a positive image. Promoting employment diversity is an integral part of social ratings.
A company must care about the health of its employees to maintain an efficient and productive workforce. That means supervisors must view employees as humans with families, as well as important team contributors. Employers must also ensure they promote a safe workplace atmosphere for employees with an emphasis on wellness.
One of the major concerns for governance of a corporation is that it operates transparently in terms of sharing accurate financial information with investors. Quality governance means running the company with integrity, making sound leadership decisions and operating within the law.
Another important aspect of corporate governance is providing personnel with proper tools, education and training for their jobs. An employer must communicate clearly and regularly with employees to ensure they are working together as a team. Building a positive team spirit helps a firm retain its employees, which reduces turnover and employee acquisition costs.
Investors want to know about governance because they don’t want to get trapped in an investment of a firm that wanders astray from regulations and industry standards. A company with high governance scores is more trustworthy and predictably stable.
How Carole Crist is Raising ESG Investor Awareness
What is ESG? It’s an emerging set of principles that address environmental, social and governance concerns for a business to follow. Carole Crist is a philanthropist and large supporter of Women in Leadership & Finance. She believes in eco-friendly solutions and helping investors find viable green investments. Learn more about Carole’s role in charitable investing that improves communities.