ESG: a new approach to delivering social value in the public and social sector

Creating prosperous, safe and healthy communities has been ingrained into the core mission of public and social sector organisations for decades.

Where the public and social sector has historically led, today many other industry sectors – from financial services and retail to construction and natural resources – are taking their commitment to community wellbeing, environmental stewardship, and social mobility much more seriously. Socially aware leaders in these sectors are making genuine pledges to redefine their organisation’s purpose beyond the pursuit of profit. 

Conversations between businesses and their various stakeholder groups are often framed around the language of ESG: environment, social, and governance. Within the last few years, ESG-related goals and metrics have become readily adopted as yardsticks of how engaged organisations and investors are in the wider, non-financial consequences of their actions.  

However, ESG is a convenient shorthand for many of the social value practices that public and social sector organisations have embraced for decades. The time is right for them to shout louder about these goals and achievements.  

Research findings

Recent research undertaken by Mazars shows that even in the face of a very challenging 18 months, public and social sector organisations have reaffirmed their commitment to improving outcomes for their end-users. When asked to identify the three most important strategic priorities for their organisation, 53% of those surveyed cited enhancing the health and wellbeing of their local communities as a key priority.  

In a forthcoming Mazars report, Demystifying ESG: a pathway to enhance social value in the public and social sector, we explore how public and social sector organisations can embrace the language of ESG to reframe and enhance their existing social value activities.  

ESG is here for the long term

Among the leaders surveyed, 80% agree that the focus on ESG is not just a fad, it is here to stay for the long term.  

This means that public and social sector organisations need to become savvier about embedding ESG within their organisations, from the way they measure and report the value to the relationship with their local supply chain partners. Approached in the right way, ESG is not just a box to tick but can offer fresh thinking that will help organisations transform how they operate and drive further social value creation.  

Our forthcoming report explores how public and social sector organisations can take a more strategic approach to ESG strategy, goal setting, and delivery.  

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Demystifying ESG: a pathway to enhance social value in the public and social sector, was released on October 13th 2021. It is based on research among 60 senior leaders in public service organisations and will showcase a mix of research findings, industry perspectives and Mazars insights.