Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments. Investors are increasingly applying these non-financial factors as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth opportunities.

We all are aware of this original definition of the term and this will probably stay for decades. A score of 50 means that the company is considered average relative to its peer group; a score of 70 or higher means that the company is rated at least two standard deviations above average in its peer group.

The last 15 months have seen unexplainable scenarios, lack-of-full-information-based decisions being made to encounter challenges and mitigate risks to the best of human abilities. Medical science has also witnessed a scale of collaboration and partnerships as never seen before for the betterment of mankind. While all this continues to topple our daily lives, the way we behave (or rather should behave) and our future precariously hangs on an incremental infinite episode of goodness from human interventions.

We all are aware that every organisation, government, and the country is made up of people, and hence my premise that all our actions need to be revolving around making this the central theme of our outcomes.

My take for every organisation, team, and even family for ensuring our ESG scores spiral northwards is dependant on the EMPATHY, SUPPORT, and GENUINENESS with which we approach managing people. The coming decade will need oodles of this version of ‘ESG’ to be seen in action to emerge as a stronger human tribe than ever before.

We may debate on various recovery GDP growth projections, pre-post pandemic numbers, and the ability to grow and sustain businesses, but the underlining fact is that it’s the PEOPLE who will bring about these numbers and a high new ‘cESG’ score is what is the need of the hour. Here the small ‘c’ is dedicated to the pioneer of this score – Covid.

A decade of consistent adoption of the ‘cESG’ model will help organisations bolster the people engagement scores beyond any measure. One where sustainability will be the key and a high chance of not crumbling down again. The Empathy, Support, and Genuineness scores need to assessed against 3 sets of people groups: YOU, INTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS, and EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS.

Let’s see how we can administer the cESG variables by asking these questions and applying them in our resultant actions.


How much empathy do you show to yourself? The battles you have been facing and fighting internally. The constant clatter that has disrupted your mental peace and in turn reflected in your outlook to people around you, associated with you – professional or personal.

How much empathy have we shown to people that work with us or for us? These are the internal stakeholders. Are we demonstrating this behavior even to the people who may not be working with us, but connected by the common organisational thread? Our conversations, listening, and understanding them will go a long way ahead.

How much empathy have we shown by listening to our external stakeholders? Are we understanding them during these tough times, as one often says even hearing them out is a battle won! Resolving issues will always be icing on the cake under such trying situations. Are we only business-centric and selectively hearing that pleases us or gives us mileage?


These are times you need to support your own insecurities and reason out with them. Bring more sanity to the way you wish to approach the closest and farthest worlds. How much are you investing in your developmental needs that are changing rapidly these days to make you future-ready? Are we being kind to ourselves, not putting in unwarranted stress?

The support we need to extend and provide to the internal stakeholder is paramount.  There are people who need our shoulders to rest, maybe even cry. Are we there ‘with’ them during those moments, or fleetingly being visible expecting them to notice us? We need to ask them for the kind of support they may need. That encourages people around us to breathe that air of support that we all so desperately want to inhale.

The external stakeholders from our organisation’s perspective or even from you as an individual need the kind of unstinted support. How are we connecting with them? Are we being intrusive, on-the-face kinds or just silently showing them our presence and extending a hand that they could hold if and when needed! Merely bulk or broadcast messages will not be the right flavor, rather might even distance them further away from us. Reversely also feel responsible to acknowledge a message you receive as a gesture that will serve smiles and establish bonds.


Both the ‘E-Empathy’ and the ‘S-Support’ needs to be carefully dovetailed into a ‘Genuine’ embrace. This is probably the hardest part to achieve, but will speak volumes of your intent and integrity.

As Judah Smith says – Be the same person PRIVATELY, PUBLICLY and PERSONALLY!

Your energy is reflective in your state of being genuine. There is nothing more needed to be spoken nor shown. It exhibits on its own and you are the master of that.

After having known all this perspective from my end, how do we even score this. Let’s attempt to use the same scoring methodology as the ESG score does.

If 50 percent of your team or people in the organisation adopts the cESG approach at the three levels of people groups – You, Internal stakeholders and External stakeholders; then you and your organisation is considered average and that much more will be the effort needed over the coming months and years to improve your engagement.

And if 70 percent of your team or people in the organisation adopts the cESG approach you are on course to be an organisation having a resilient, engaged and committed set of PEOPLE.

And this is what every leader wishes to have in order to have an impressive ESG score and Business objectives surpassed.

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