Looking at ESG In History

We can find examples of ESG in history, even before the term was even invented. Everyday people have used economic and political influence to change public and corporate philosophies and actions. I want to examine some of those examples and look for parallels in our modern world.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was founded in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated the one year anniversary of Hester’s death and all the transgender people lost to violence that year. That initial event began the world-wide observance that is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Individual killings are not the only way that anti-transgender discrimination shows up in our society. We all know about the active legislative efforts across the United States and Canada to attack our transgender friends and relatives.

There are historical examples of the effectiveness of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investing, Sometimes, social movements are able to use economic power to affect social policy. There are examples of campaigns to improve society and the economy that convince established interests of the need to change with the times.
Abolition, the movement to abolish the slave trade, is one of those. And Canada played a prominent role in making change possible before anyone else.

Governance is the third tenet of ESG and generally refers to the internal workings of a corporation and its impact on that company’s overall performance and public reputation.

This is where scandal is most likely to crop up, often suddenly and without warning, mainly because not enough attention is spent examining its roots.

And political and historical examples of the impact of scandals like this are not hard to find. One of the most prominent in Canadian history almost destroyed MacDonald while he was in office. Other events during his second tenure as Prime Minister have served to seriously damage his legacy.