1st Edition

Measuring Good Business Making Sense of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Data

By Richard Hardyment Copyright 2024
    308 Pages
    by Routledge

    308 Pages
    by Routledge

    What's a good company? Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing is transforming the world of business and finance. Investors are using data on issues like climate and diversity to enhance returns and make an impact. But with scepticism creeping in, how far can we trust the numbers? Is all this data making a difference to people and planet, and have we actually lost sight of what we are measuring and why? Measuring Good Business explains what we can measure – and calls for honesty about what we can't.

    This is the first book to look at the numbers behind the ESG revolution. It sets out a bold blueprint to revolutionise the data based on bottom-up, inclusive metrics, customised data to meet investor needs and impact measures that put sustainability in context. It is essential reading for anyone creating, using or studying ESG and sustainability data. After unpacking what’s going on today, the book focuses on solutions, providing a how-to guide to improve measurement and make sustainable business more impactful. It shows why measurement matters in a highly accessible way through stories and insights based on practical experience.

    The book is relevant to a broad readership of data creators (e.g. those working in companies), users (e.g. capital market participants) as well as the large ecosystem of raters, rankers and standard setters across the private, public and non-profit worlds.

    Introduction: the ESG revolution 1. Moral merchants 2. ESG World 3. Good measurement 4. Making a difference 5. Solutions for inclusive impact


    Richard Hardyment has spent over 15 years advising and assessing companies on responsible and sustainable business.

    “A compelling read for anyone working in sustainable finance. This book challenges the notion of capital markets focused on financial value creation and instead asks: how might we capture human values too?”  

    Paul Druckman, Chair, World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA); founding CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC)

    “This book asks exactly the right questions at just the right time. What does a systemic transformation of the economy for people and planet look like? Who decides what good business entails? What things can’t we measure? Is any of it making a difference in the real world? By asking these questions and exploring them with a clarity that only years at the coalface can give, it offers an inspiring and practical pathway forward: combining the numbers and the people.”  

    Anna Biswas, Managing Director, India, Forum for the Future  

    “Even before the backlash, 'ESG' was riding for a fall, with its flawed methodologies, muddled thinking and overblown claims. This is not just a forensic examination of where it went wrong, going back to the rise of the joint stock corporation and checking in with philosophers, economists and data scientists along the way. This book is fizzing with practical ideas about what we should do next if we want to deploy capital both profitably and sustainably. Highly recommended.”  

    Mike Tuffrey, cofounder, Corporate Citizenship  

    “A timely and thought-provoking guide to help businesses and financial institutions explore how they might define and measure what good looks like for both their own organisations and society at large. This book will challenge leaders to think differently about the data, measurement and reporting required to address some of the big challenges facing the world.”  

    Thomas Vergunst, Finance Programme Director, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership  

    “ESG can trivialise sustainability by assuming that complex issues can be reduced to simple numbers. Measuring Good Business coherently argues for better ways of capturing the world. This is a lively and compelling read that will be of interest to anybody working in the field.”  

    Dr Mike Tennant, Vice-Dean (Education) and Director of MSc in Environmental Technology, Imperial College, London