Partnership for the Goals
SDG 17- Advancing Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance
As consumer preference for socially driven brands has grown in recent years, businesses are increasingly expected to positively impact the world around them. Tapping into this shift, Israel’s government is boosting its own efforts to promote approaches popularly known as “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) or “Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance” (ESG).
The Strategic Affairs Ministry’s “Impact Nation” initiative highlights this development. Its new NIS 3 million program will provide companies access to a government grant totaling NIS 100,000 each to produce ESG reports.
“Israel is filled with businesses which promote many values such as social integration, technology, innovation, environment, health, education and more,” the Ministry’s head recently told The Jerusalem Post: “‘Impact Reporting’ is gaining steam throughout the world, and it is important that Israeli business take part as well. During this period, I see great importance in showcasing Israel not only as the ‘Start-Up Nation,’ but also as the ‘Impact Nation.’”
The current trend toward ESG within the Israeli establishment has been gaining steam for some time now. For example, in September the Environmental Protection Minister led a senior-level ESG-focused meeting during which she emphasized:
“Climate and environmental risks must be included in the considerations of those bodies that manage public savings. It is not possible for institutional entities to invest public savings in companies that pollute and shorten the lives of those whose savings they are managing.”
Recent developments in the ESG sphere have been welcomed by the Israeli non-profit “Maala” which publishes an annual ESG index on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. In a statement on its LinkedIn feed, the organization commented:
“In 2020 the Israeli government has taken two substantial actions to enhance ESG in Israel: the Israel Securities Authority’s call for proposals on Corporate Responsibility and ESG Risk Disclosures; and a new initiative of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs offering grants to businesses for publishing ESG reports.”
Recent Israeli developments in the ESG context appear to dovetail with the principles of responsible investment embedded in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This welcome trend is definitely worth following as it moves forward.