Susan Joyce – Understanding ‘Social’ in ESG

(Social Practice Forum)

7245 Clifford Road, Merville, BC Canada

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is shorthand for the range of issues or risks to company performance, resilience or even survival that must be considered and managed by a company. The Environment (E) and Governance (G) dimensions are more widely understood amongst companies, financers and investors. The Social element arguably is the most complex and the least understood. Social risks including those relating to human rights, responsible supply chains, indigenous collective rights, access to information, meaningful engagement about issues affecting peoples’ lives, and worker and community health and safety from project hazards all present challenges to identify, measure and control. Proactively managing the social dimension is critical if ‘ESG’ is to add value and guide practice of both companies and investors.

This talk will introduce the social dimension, its foundations and, the risks and opportunities it presents in practice, before considering the management of social performance and potential approaches to overcome challenges and realise positive outcomes.


Susan Joyce is a founding member of the Social Practice Forum, a collective of 65 social practice experts who work with companies on social performance and human rights issues. The Forum was established to provide active leadership on social performance with a vision that business, civil society, communities and government can transform natural resource endowments to create enduring, positive social, environmental and economic outcomes. The Forum contributes to this vision by creating a space for members to pool their collective experience, advance ideas and promote progressive practices. One of the key objectives of the Social Practice Forum is to increase awareness about Social Performance.