Are sustainability and ESG the same?


Many companies work with sustainability and especially with ESG as a focal point, and therefore in many cases, set goals and measurements on these factors, together with other financial goals.

But are sustainability and ESG the same?

If we look at the UN’s definition of sustainability, it is:

“Sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

Sustainability is about creating long-term value for all stakeholders. It is a broader concept that includes ESG factors but is more than them and is mainly about the impact a company has on society and our world.

ESG refers to 3 factors, Environmental, Social, and Governance, and is a more specific framework that is used, among other things, by investors when we talk about risk assessment and financial assessment of a company.

You can say that ESG is an outside-in assessment, while sustainability is an inside-out approach with an ambition to create a positive influence.

The optimal way, in any case, is to ensure both an outside-in and inside-out perspective on development. Thus, both have sustainability in the broad sense included in their strategy, linked to the ESG factors.

Still, a long way to go compared to comparable standards and, to a large extent also, transparency around sustainability, but there are opportunities in different platforms and collaborations, and it is better to do something than nothing.

And there are opportunities and potential in sustainable development – ​​but like much else, it is sometimes a process, a change, or a transformation. Still, it is a long way down the road, an expectation from significantly younger customers and employees.

And I only think that it will be more in the future, and why not both create a positive influence and a solid financial performance – it makes sense; it helps to secure the future and create sustainable growth.