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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

Since I’m doing a bit of look-back to 2023, we all know how difficult a time it was for sustainability/ESG professionals. With almost 40 years environmental/sustainability/supply chain responsibility experience under my belt, I am confident in declaring never has there been a more turbulent moment to be in the field. This article from Eco-Business did a good job of summing up “the things that got under the skin of Asia’s corporate sustainability leaders in a year that geopolitics complicated climate ambition in the boardroom.” In my view, this list isn’t limited to Asia – it is pretty much universal.

Here are 15 things that frustrated chief sustainability officers in 2023 according to Eco-Business:

  1. CSOs having to define their role
  2. ESG backlash
  3. The business case for net-zero: On thin ice
  4. Competence greenwashing
  5. Geopolitics
  6. The Science Based Targets Initiative
  7. Greenwashing and greenhushing
  8. Scope 3
  9. Sustainability events 
  10. Regulation
  11. The voluntary carbon market
  12. Alphabet soup
  13. Data digging
  14. COP
  15. Consultancies

That this list consists of 15 items – not simply a Top 5 – is itself telling. Readers may prioritize items differently or have additional topics to add (such as DEI or human rights in supply chains). While attention seems focused on CSOs and the predicaments they face, stress also falls on the shoulders of their staff. The tsunami we occasionally refer to simply isn’t abating. We continue to cover these topics and add more resources to help members make their business strategies, programs and compliance paths practical and efficient.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile