August 2023
ESG, the foundation for a future sustainable workforce and talent attraction

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concerns have become key elements in business decision-making. These criteria not only affect a company’s reputation, but also play a fundamental role in attracting and retaining talent, as well as in shaping the company’s culture and employee engagement.

Companies have begun to adopt ESG strategies, policies, and practices, committing to integrate environmental and social considerations into their decision-making and operations, as well as striving to implement strong corporate governance practices. This involves, for example, reducing carbon emissions, responsible management of natural resources, promoting diversity and inclusion at work, ensuring employee safety and well-being, protecting human rights in the supply chain, and transparency in corporate communication.

In this context, companies are not only meeting the expectations of their various stakeholders, but also laying the groundwork for a sustainable workforce and talent attraction.

ESG policies and their influence on organizational culture and employee engagement

ESG policies influence organizational culture through the promotion of ethical values. By adopting and implementing ESG policies, companies commit to integrate ethical and responsible considerations into their decision-making and daily operations. This translates into an organizational culture that values integrity, social responsibility, and respect for the natural environment. Employees feel motivated and proud to work for a company that promotes these values and ethical principles, which in turn contributes to higher employee engagement and job satisfaction.

On the other hand, when companies are transparent about their actions, goals, and results regarding the ESG, they build trust and strengthen the bond between employees and the organization. Employees value the honesty and openness of the company and feel more engaged when they have access to relevant and up-to-date information about the company’s ESG practices and performance. Additionally, transparency allows employees to understand the impact that their work has on society and the environment, which increases their sense of purpose and belonging, and contributes to greater commitment.

Furthermore, ESG foster a culture of collaboration, inclusion, and responsibility within the organization. For example, by implementing diversity and inclusion programs, companies promote a work environment where all voices and perspectives are valued. This not only strengthens the organizational culture, but also boost innovation and creativity by leveraging the diversity of ideas and experiences. Similarly, corporate social responsibility initiatives such as corporate volunteering and social investment projects involve employees in activities that go beyond their daily work and provide them with an opportunity to make a positive difference in society. These practices encourage a sense of responsibility and pride in employees and reinforce their commitment to the company and its values.

The Impact of ESG on Attraction and Retention

ESG policies also play an important role in attracting and retaining talent. In a highly competitive job market, talented candidates seek not only employers who share their values and commitment to sustainability, but also jobs that allow them to make a difference and contribute to a positive impact in the world. Companies that adopt strong ESG practices become more attractive to these candidates. By demonstrating a genuine commitment to ESG policies, companies create a differentiated and solid employer brand.

On the other side, effective communication and promotion of ESG policies are essential for attracting top talent. Companies must effectively communicate their ESG practices and commitments in their recruitment strategies and as part of their employee value proposition and employer brand. By proactively showcasing their ESG approach, companies generate trust in candidates and demonstrate their commitment to corporate responsibility. Additionally, it is crucial to highlight how employees can also contribute and participate in the company’s ESG initiatives, providing candidates with a clear idea of how they can make a difference in their work.

A company’s sustainable reputation also influences employees committed to sustainability. Employees who care about ESG issues seek organizations that reflect their values. When a company has a strong reputation in terms of ESG practices, it creates a work environment that attracts and retains committed employees. These employees feel proud to be part of a company with a purpose beyond financial results, which increases their engagement, job satisfaction, and motivation. This, in turn, reduces turnover rate and the costs associated with hiring and training new employees.

Overall, ESG policies are not only important for attracting talent, but also influence employee loyalty and retention.

The Impact of ESG on Younger Generations

The younger generations, mainly composed of millennials and centennials, have brought about a significant shift in how work and corporate responsibility are perceived. Their constant exposure to global challenges has awakened their awareness and sensitivity to environmental and social issues. As a result, they are highly committed to environmental and social issues, seek purpose in life, and are more willing to support and work in companies that share their values and concerns while they have the opportunity to contribute to positive change in society. ESG becomes a key factor for them to evaluate the authenticity and commitment of a company to social and environmental impact.

Furthermore, these generations thoroughly research companies before making employment decisions, and ESG has become an essential criterion in their evaluation. Companies that do not demonstrate a genuine commitment to ESG may struggle to attract and retain top talent and may harm their reputation.

In summary, younger generations’ interest on ESG is driving a transformation in the business world. Companies are responding to this demand by adopting ESG strategies and practices to stay relevant and attractive. They are integrating environmental and social considerations into their decision-making, setting sustainability goals, and promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, which also allows them to drive innovation and long-term profitability.

Business opportunities that could arise from ESG

Global investment in environmental initiatives has been steadily increasing as awareness of climate change and environmental issues grows. Investments are being made in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture, conservation and biodiversity, clean technology, and climate change adaptation. These investments aim to mitigate the impact of human activities on the environment, promote sustainable practices, and develop innovative solutions. While the level of investment varies across countries and regions, the overall trend reflects a growing recognition of the importance of investing in a greener and more sustainable future.
In this sense, ESG provide several business opportunities for us as a Global Executive Search network. Some of them include:

  1. Search for ESG committed leaders:
    The focus on ESG is increasing at all levels of leadership, and companies are seeking executives who are committed to sustainability and social responsibility. We can leverage this trend by specializing in identifying and selecting leaders with experience and knowledge in ESG. By providing highly qualified candidates committed to ESG, we can meet the needs of our clients and help them build executive teams aligned with their values and sustainability goals.
  2. Strategic ESG advisory and consulting services:
    We can offer strategic advisory and consulting services to our clients in the field of ESG. This involves helping organizations understand and address challenges related to the environment, social responsibility, and corporate governance. We can provide insights into best practices in ESG, assist in developing effective ESG policies and strategies, and guide our clients in the successful implementation of these practices in their operations, organizational culture and workforce building.
  3. Building ESG networks:
    We can build a strong network and establish relationships with leaders and experts in sustainability and corporate responsibility (i.e. NG0s, investors, ESG experts, sustainability leaders, etc.). This allows us to stay informed about the latest trends, research, and opportunities related to ESG. In turn, we can share this network with our clients and connect them with professionals and prominent leaders in the field of ESG, enhancing their ability to develop robust strategies and access talent committed to sustainability, while also strengthening our relationships with our clients (loyalty).
  4. Market differentiation:
    We can differentiate and position ourselves as a strategic partner for companies seeking leadership committed to sustainability. By promoting our capabilities and experience in executive search and ESG advisory and consulting services, we can attract clients who value the importance of integrating sustainability into their business strategy. This differentiation can set us apart from the competition and generate new business opportunities.

ESG impact on Global Executive Search business

The increasing global investment in environmental initiatives presents a significant opportunity for the executive search industry. There is a growing demand for executives with sustainability, renewable energy, and environmental management expertise. Executive search firms can specialize in recruiting top talent for these roles, connecting organizations with individuals who can drive their sustainability agendas. They can also provide market insights and intelligence, helping companies navigate the evolving environmental sector. By identifying and placing skilled executives, the executive search industry can contribute to the success of environmental initiatives and the advancement of sustainable business practices.
In this respect, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) has a significant impact on Global Executive Search in various ways:

  1. Changing hiring needs:
    As long as sustainability and corporate responsibility become priorities for organizations, the demand for executive leaders with experience and knowledge in ESG will increase. Companies will be seeking CEOs and senior leaders who can guide the implementation of sustainable practices, promote diversity and inclusion, and manage environmental and social risks and compliance. As a result, we must adapt to these new needs and focus on identifying candidates with ESG competencies.
  2. Evaluating executives in ESG:
    We will need to develop a more comprehensive approach in evaluating executive leaders in terms of their ESG skills and experience. This involves examining not only their financial achievements, but also their ability to promote an ethical corporate culture, their commitment to sustainability, and their ability to address social and environmental challenges. It is crucial to assess leaders’ ability to drive the transformation towards a more sustainable organization.
  3. Growing ESG market:
    More and more companies are adopting ESG practices and seeking both suppliers and talent that align with these values. This represents an opportunity to have ESG practices as Global Executive Search network, expand our client portfolio and offer specialized talent search services in ESG. By focusing on selecting talent that meets ESG criteria, we can capitalize on this growing demand and generate new business opportunities.
  4. Differentiation and influence on business transformation:
    By providing our clients with committed talent that values and has experience in ESG, we can influence their business transformation towards more sustainable and responsible practices, creating an organizational culture based on ethics, sustainability, and social responsibility. This, in turn, can contribute to improving their ESG performance, differentiate them in the market, and strengthen their reputation.

In conclusion, ESG presents valuable opportunities for our Global Executive Search network, from the search for ESG committed leaders to strategic advisory and consulting services, network building, and market differentiation. We can also provide added value to our clients and contribute to their success in integrating responsible and sustainable business practices.


  • According to a report by Deloitte, 76% of millennials consider sustainable practices as an important factor when choosing an employer. Additionally, 90% of Generation Z states that it is important to work for a company that promotes ethical values.
  • According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 73% of professionals considered having a purposeful job is important for their job satisfaction. Furthermore, a study by consulting firm PwC revealed that 79% of millennials are willing to commit more to their employer when they feel their work has a positive impact on society.
  • According to a survey by Cone Communications, 76% of Generation Z and 69% of millennial employees thoroughly research companies before accepting a job. They seek information about a company’s sustainability practices, social responsibility, and commitment to ESG issues.
  • Additionally, a report by human resources consulting firm Randstad revealed that 58% of Generation Z employees and 56% of millennials consider a company’s ethical and social reputation an important factor when choosing an employer.
  • According to a report by Deloitte, 87% of executives believe that a strong focus on ESG issues has a positive impact on their company’s reputation and helps attract and retain talented employees.
  • A Harvard Business Review study found that companies with high levels of sustainability have 55% less employee turnover than those with poor sustainability practices.
  • According to a survey by Russell Reynolds Associates, 79% of executives consider sustainability an important issue for their company’s long-term success. Additionally, 88% of executives expect sustainability to be integrated into their business strategy and operations in the next five years.

These statistics demonstrate the growing importance of ESG in strategic decision-making and the demand for executive leaders with sustainability experience.

  • According to a report by Heidrick & Struggles, 63% of global investors consider sustainability a key factor in their investment decisions.

This implies that companies must demonstrate a strong commitment to ESG to attract investments and ensure long-term growth. Global Executive Search plays a crucial role in identifying executive leaders with sustainability experience to meet investor expectations.

  • According to a survey by Egon Zehnder, 80% of executives surveyed believe that diversity and inclusion are fundamental to business success. Additionally, 66% believe that sustainability and social responsibility are important factors in consumer decision-making.

These statistics demonstrate how ESG has become an essential aspect for company competitiveness and reputation, requiring executive leaders with knowledge and experience in these areas.

  • McKinsey, March 2023, Climate technology is getting a further boost from unprecedented government programs in the United States and Europe that will unleash a flood of capital to meet the challenge of achieving net-zero emission commitments by 2050. The US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed last year, allocates more than $370 billion in funding to mitigate climate change, while the EU Green Deal could potentially dedicate more than €1 trillion in public and private funds to the fight. Together, these measures may open up more opportunities for investors in a market that could reach $9 trillion to $12 trillion in annual investment by 2030.

Article by:

Rui Borges – INAC Portugal
René Johnson – INAC Australia
Roger Johnston – INAC UK
Karla Alfaro – INAC Mexico

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