Labour and ESG reporting

Image: Pop & Zebra / Unsplash

While much of the focus on ESG in recent times has centred around the environment, labour has not received the kind of attention it deserves. While Health and Safety has been a common theme in most sustainability/ESG reporting, several other issues deserve a closer look. Much of the corporate reporting on these issues tend to be in narratives rather than quantitative. Analysing the non-financial reports, thus, becomes quite a struggle. For a start, some of the decent work indicators that ILO looks at 

  1. Employment opportunities: Proportion of non-formal employment; employment generation activities in the organisation and nearby areas
  2. Adequate earnings and productive wage: Average wages; Minimum wage as a percentage of median wage;   
  3. Decent working times: measured as the number of working hours; days of paid leave
  4. Combining work, family and personal life: Maternity protection; paternal leave
  5. Work that should be abolished: Child labour, forced labour
  6. Security and stability of work: Work tenure
  7. Equal opportunity and treatment in employment: Occupational segregation by gender; Female share in middle and senior management, the Gender wage gap
  8. Safe work environment: Occupational injury rate –fatal and non-fatal, time out due to work-related injuries
  9. Social security: Pensions and social security
  10. Social dialogues, workers’ and employers’ representation: Collective bargaining and union coverage; days not worked due to strikes and lockouts

There is a need to build standards around non-financial reporting of labour-related issues. Labour is an essential cog in the “S” of ESG and needs more attention and focus.

Published by Utkarsh Majmudar

Utkarsh Majmudar is a Fellow, IIM Ahmedabad and a professional with experience encompassing academics and administration at top business schools in India (IIM Lucknow, IIM Udaipur, and IIM Bangalore) and working with large corporations. His interest areas include corporate finance and CSR.

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