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The State of Social in ESG

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Justine Hendricks

The State of 'S' in ESG

By Justine Hendricks 

Business is a powerful force. It can drive prosperity for companies, communities and nations. And in the course of delivering products and services, businesses have far-reaching impacts on the environment and people. The decisions they make shape our world and our future.

Export Development Canada has been working with companies across Canada for almost 80 years. Over those decades, we have seen the business landscape continually evolve alongside changing perspectives, values and practices when it comes to environment and people. Today’s world is very different from the one in which EDC started. 

But in many ways, it is not different enough. The reality is there are deep-rooted challenges we continue to face as a society. Events of the past couple of years have been a stark reminder of how threatened our environment is, and of the historic injustices and systemic barriers that affect too many people and communities. Business has a critical role to play in addressing these issues. 

The challenges are real and solutions are not easy. What inspires us is the desire we see from so many Canadian businesses to do better and lead change. But it will take more than good intentions to drive progress. Integrating strong ESG practices across the business landscape is critical. And while the recognition of this fact has gained momentum, gaps in knowledge stand in the way of progress.  

The research in this report represents an important step forward in understanding and benchmarking social practices. It provides foundational information businesses need in order to build strategies that lead to tangible results. It is this kind of work, combined with collaboration across all sectors and stakeholders, that is needed to achieve a more sustainable and equitable world. 

Justine Hendricks
Chief Corporate Sustainability Officer
Export Development Canada

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