Spotlight on the 'S' in ESG

At its core, the ‘social’ pillar of ESG is about businesses committing to and respecting human rights.

It’s common to leap to environmental issues, but people issues need just as much attention when it comes to thinking about ESG. From preventing modern slavery to building First Nations understanding, businesses can help lead the way.


In recent years, businesses the world over have become aware that focusing on economic value alone won’t deliver sustainable outcomes. Business are recognising that instead, they need to manage the interests of a wide range of stakeholders and instil a culture of acting ethically and responsibly.

To do this, organisations are increasingly developing and implementing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agendas. However, a common problem is that there’s significant emphasis on environmental matters, largely due to climate change, but not always enough reporting on social issues and the impacts organisations are having with respect to people issues, such as preventing modern slavery, building First Nations understanding and fostering diversity and inclusion.

While environmental and governance aspects of ESG link to our wellbeing as communities and individuals, social issues are where the experiences of people come into specific focus. Social components of an organisation’s ESG strategy incorporates areas such as diversity and inclusion, occupational workplace health and safety, and modern slavery. At its core, the ‘social’ pillar of ESG is about businesses committing to and respecting human rights.

We have identified five key areas organisations should be focusing on to ensure they’re strategically addressing the social pillar of their ESG approach. Download our report to find out more.


Contact us

Rosalie Wilkie

Partner, Sydney, PwC Australia

+61 417 021 993


Louise Halliwell

Director, ESG Assurance, Melbourne, PwC Australia

+61 410 585 835


Amber Roberts

PwC’s Indigenous Consulting, PwC Australia

+61 439 508 856