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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 28 March, 2023

  • 5 Min Read

ESG REGULATIONS

ESG Regulations in India

  • In India, the development of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) legislation and regulations is still in its infancy.
  • Regulations and businesses have adopted environmental impact, a dedication to social causes, solid corporate governance, and the preservation of shareholder rights as part of their business models over the past ten years.

About ESG Regulations

  • The term "Environmental, Social, and Governance" (ESG) refers to a set of standards used to evaluate how well a company does in protecting the environment, managing its stakeholder relationships, and managing issues including the company's leadership, internal controls, and shareholder rights. Socially and ecologically conscientious investors evaluate possible investments using these criteria.
  • The term "environmental, social, and corporate governance" (ESG) refers to a strategic framework for activities that include the company's carbon footprint, commitment to sustainability, workplace culture, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and overall ethos regarding corporate risks and practises.
  • It's an organisational concept that has gained importance, especially for socially conscious investors who seek for businesses with high ESG ratings
  • ESG-compliant businesses may have lower operating expenses, improved risk management, and improved investor and consumer perception.
  • In assessing a company's long-term viability and profitability, investors are aware of the significance of ESG aspects.
  • Neglecting ESG factors may result in reputational harm, regulatory attention, and higher operating expenses for businesses.
  • When choosing which businesses to support or work for, many customers and workers also take ESG considerations into account.

Pillars of ESG

  • The ESG's three main pillars are as follows:
  • Environmental Commitment: This refers to a company's overall commitment to sustainability and its impact on the environment, including its waste production, energy consumption, carbon emissions, and footprint.
  • A company's internal workplace culture, employee retention, diversity, working conditions, and employee health and safety are all covered under its social commitment. Businesses with contented workers perform better and are regarded as better investments.
  • Corporate governance refers to a firm's dedication to good governance, which includes compliance, internal corporate culture, compensation ratios, company ethos, and leadership transparency and accountability. Investors are drawn to businesses that are committed to workplace justice and equality and that can adapt to changing laws and regulations.

Difference of ESG and CSR

  • India has a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy that is outlined in the Companies Act 2013, which requires businesses to spend at least 2% of their net earnings over the previous three years on CSR activities.
  • ESG regulations have varying impacts and processes. The U.K. Modern Slavery Act, for instance, mandates that businesses disclose the steps they have taken to identify the dangers of child labour in their supply chain.
  • With the passage of the 2014 and 2021 changes to the 2013 Companies Act, this obligation was formalised into law and calls for:
  • Businesses with a minimum net worth of 500 crore ($60 million), a minimum annual revenue of 1,000 crore ($120 million), or a minimum net profit of 5 crore ($6,05,800) in any given fiscal year.

Advantage of ESG

  • Long-Term Sustainability: Companies are encouraged to search for more sustainable investment options by adhering to the ESG framework, which gives them a long-term competitive edge.
  • Improved Public Image: ESG-compliant businesses can easily access resources at lower prices, including financial, natural, and human skills.
  • Improving Employee Productivity: By integrating ESG into the business environment, employees are encouraged to live lives that are "purpose-driven" and to do their best work.
  • Cost/Risk Reduction: Compliance with ESG standards, such as resolving shareholder complaints, human rights, and gender diversity of the companies, will lead to less fines and enforcement actions.

Relevance

  • India has a number of laws and organisations that address issues with the environment, society, and governance.
  • According to recent initiatives, India should follow rules that prioritise monitoring, quantification, and disclosure, which are similar to ESG standards in other areas of the world.
  • If India is to fully benefit from the growing decoupling from China, compliance with ESG norms from other areas of the world is essential.
  • Following ESG guidelines may be more important in global supply chains and the world market as a whole.
ESG Fund
  • An example of a mutual fund is an ESG fund. Its investments are frequently used interchangeably with environmentally friendly or socially conscious investments.
  • Conscience is thus the primary distinction between ESG funds and ordinary funds.
  • The ESG fund concentrates on businesses with a track record of ethical behaviour, protecting the environment, and being employee-friendly.

Securities and Exchange Board of India is in charge of overseeing the fund (SEBI).

Source: The Hindu


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