ESG: What Does it Stand For? 

News January 15, 2021

In the world of sustainability you’ll see the acronyms like ESG and CSR in reference to a company’s goals and practices, though the two terms are not really interchangeable. CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility and is what guides an organization’s moral compass, if you will, and varies from business to business. ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governancethree pillars of sustainability to which an organization can measure their impact—and our focus here.   


The term ESG is relatively new, and was first introduced in 2005 at the Who Cares Wins conference in Zurich, which was initiated by the UN Secretary General and UN Global Compact in 2004. It brought together investors, government bodies, regulators and global consultants to examine the critical role sustainability has in financial market research and long-term investment. The importance of this is profound, since investing in sustainability is truly an investment in our future. 


But what, exactly do each of the categories mean? In terms of sustainability we often think of environmental concerns, though an organization’s sustainability goals should take into consideration all three pillars to create positive measurable impact.  



  • This covers an organization’s impact on the environment and is measured through things like GHG emissions, water use, waste and pollution, land use and biodiversity through direct operations and along the supply chain. 



  • This is about how we treat our people internally, commitment to the local community and workers along our supply chain. It focuses on things like diversity, gender equalitychild labor laws, and employee and consumer safety. 



  • Refers to how a business is run such as diversity and structure of board members, management and stakeholders, codes of conduct, policy influence, supply chain management and risk management. 


And although we know how important it is for businesses to measure their impact on the environment, as you can see sustainability encompasses so much more. A responsible organization should support the overall betterment of the world through promoting equality, meaningful employment and environmental practices, and provide a positive impact with the work that they do, just to name a few. At Amyris, we take this commitment seriously and look forward to a more equitable and sustainable future.