The ESG principle: web accessibility & social commitment

The ESG principle: web accessibility & social commitment

Ever wondered how the principles of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) connect with digital accessibility? The principles behind ESG have a stronger relationship with technology and inclusion than you might first think. 

In this article, we’ll explore the huge impact of making digital accessibility a central part of the ESG principles within your company. We’ll discuss how you can showcase a commitment to your stakeholders and your customer base.

Among these customers are individuals with disabilities, a group comprising an estimated 1.3 billion people worldwide who experience a disability. Recognizing this substantial demographic, it is imperative that your ESG strategy takes their needs into serious consideration.

Finally, we’ll look at ESG examples and explore the connections between ESG and web accessibility in their relation to people, technology, ethics, and societal impact. Let’s get started.

Deciphering corporate ESG: what does it really mean?

Before we dive in, let’s look at the meaning of ESG in a corporate environment.

Corporate ESG represents a comprehensive approach to measuring a company’s impact on the world, including its environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and governance practices.

ESG principles have gathered significant attention, but are companies truly aligning their actions with their commitments? What critical aspect of ESG are many businesses neglecting? And what exactly is an ESG score?

Keep reading as we unwrap the many different components of ESG.

ESG scores: a business compass for ethical investing

Picture this: You’re considering investing in a company, and there it is—a three-digit ESG score. What does it mean? It’s the essence of a firm’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, promote diversity, and uphold ethical leadership. These numbers speak volumes about a company’s values, their dedication to sustainability, and their responsibility to society.

ESG is now a top priority for business investors and ESG scores are holding companies accountable not only for their commitments but also how they are demonstrating being better corporate citizens. But how can we truly embody better corporate citizenship if we fail to consider the needs of the 1.3 billion people that make up the disability community  who require a deeper commitment to inclusivity?

Why the disabled community should be central to ESG principles

Disabled individuals have long been excluded from the full benefits of ESG principles; it’s a huge oversight that deserves our attention. 

While ESG has made strides in addressing environmental sustainability and ethical governance, the “S” for “Social” component, which highlights diversity, equity, and inclusion, often overlooks people with disabilities.

ESG discussions tend to focus more on diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, and race, inadvertently sidelining the unique technological challenges faced by disabled individuals. But this is an oversight that no business can afford to ignore. 

As the digital world advances, web accessibility is more critical than ever. To uphold the principles of social responsibility, ESG strategies must embrace online accessibility, ensuring that no one is left behind in our digital journey.

ESG and accessibility are two sides of the same coin. You can’t truly invest in our future without honoring both the planet and the people living on it. So how can you practically improve your ESG score, and make a positive impact on the world?

What’s the connection between ESG and accessibility?

Web accessibility fits naturally into ESG. It’s about making sure that everyone, including people with disabilities, can easily use digital tools and services. 

This shows a commitment to fairness and reduces legal and reputation risks, which connects to ESG’s governance aspect. In essence, ESG and accessibility both promote fairness, inclusivity, and responsible practices in business.

But here’s the question: can businesses truly claim to be socially responsible if they don’t prioritize web accessibility for everyone? How can businesses address the ‘S’ in ESG to meet the digital expectations of people with disabilities?

ESG factors: addressing the ‘S’ in ESG

Addressing the ‘S’ in ESG, which stands for ‘Social.’ you’re promoting inclusivity and equal opportunity, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their physical abilities, has equitable access to your online content, products and services. This isn’t just corporate responsibility; it’s corporate leadership with a vision. 

By taking proactive steps to make your website and digital content accessible, you uphold the ESG principles of social responsibility and connect with a vast and often untapped market of individuals with disabilities. 

Are you ready to harness the potential of web accessibility to enhance your ESG efforts and make a meaningful impact on society? Let’s provide you with some practical ways you can truly ‘address the ‘S’ in ESG’.

WCAG & Accessibility. Fueling ESG factors 

ESG coupled with the components of web accessibility should be at the core of every business’ playbook for the future. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) serves as the gold standard guidelines for web accessibility, offering a powerful framework that can support your ESG strategy in several ways:

Environmental (E)

Are we mindful of the environmental impact of our website’s data consumption, and can we optimize it? Can we power our online infrastructure with renewable energy sources to reduce our carbon footprint? Check out WC3’s presentation on Web Sustainability Guidelines. 

Efforts to enhance energy and digital efficiency contribute to a reduced environmental impact and resonate with the principles of WCAG, creating a digital ecosystem that is environmentally conscious and accessible.

Social (S)

Are we providing equal access to our online content for all users, regardless of their abilities? Are we actively seeking feedback from individuals with disabilities to enhance digital accessibility? 

Incorporating accessibility and actively engaging with user feedback not only ensures equal access but also signifies an ongoing commitment to fostering a digital landscape that is truly inclusive and user-centric, in line with the core principles of WCAG.

Governance (G)

How can we effectively communicate our commitment to accessibility to stakeholders, customers and the public? Are we setting clear expectations and standards for digital accessibility within our corporate governance? 

Creating clear accessibility policies within our corporate governance isn’t just about compliance; it’s about making a promise to everyone that your business is dedicated to inclusivity. And, when it comes to transparency, it’s vital to openly share that promise with stakeholders, customers, and the public.

These considerations offer valuable food for thought, but to truly harness the potential of WCAG and web accessibility, it’s advisable to become well-acquainted with WCAG guidelines or consult with an expert in this field.

UserWay: elevating accessibility & ESG initiatives

For organizations committed to addressing the ‘S’ in ESG, Userway’s Web Accessibility Suite serves as a valuable partner. To prioritize your ESG and web accessibility journey, UserWay can help your business leave a lasting impression on all customers, including individuals with disabilities. From design to deployment, UserWay’s accessibility tools are pivotal to creating inclusive digital spaces, meeting regulatory requirements and fostering a more socially responsible online environment. Get started with UserWay today.

Answers to common FAQs

How does incorporating web accessibility relate to the ‘S’ (Social) aspect of ESG?

Ensuring web accessibility and aligning with WCAG requirements promote social inclusivity, providing equal access for people with disabilities, creating a more equitable digital environment.

What is an ESG score?

This is a metric used to assess a company’s performance and commitment to sustainability, ethical practices and corporate responsibility.

What is an example of an ESG principle?

An example of an ESG principle is a company making sure that its website and digital assets are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, demonstrating a commitment to  social responsibility and equal access.

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