According to a new study released by the global employment site Indeed, jobs in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) industry grew by 468% in India over the last three years, from April 2019 to April 2022.

The most substantial increase in demand appeared between April 2021 and April 2022 over the previous year. According to the same study, the number of job openings increased by 154% from a year earlier, when they increased by 97%.

But why is there such a sudden surge in ESG career opportunities in India? Let us find out.

ESG- The Need of The Hour in India

As the collective consciousness of the global population leans more and more towards environment-first and socially responsible companies, Indian corporates are also being compelled to respond to the growing attention and trend in non-financial reporting and performance. A few big blue-chip stock corporations have recently stated their long-term plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

Investors are using revolutionary tools to fund social and environmental activities in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a very committed stand on what India would do to safeguard the planet from the threats of climate change when addressing the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow recently. 

Prime Minister Modi pledged to adopt 500 GW of non-fossil fuel electrical production capacity, sourcing 50% of India’s energy requirements from renewables, decreasing 1 billion tons of anticipated emissions, achieving a 40% decrease in carbon intensity over 2005 levels by 2030, and, most crucially, achieving net-zero by 2070.

While India is rapidly developing, the energy decisions taken today will have far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world. Climate change is already wreaking havoc on communities across India, from extreme flooding to record-breaking heatwaves. And with increasing mercury and soaring temperatures, India is experiencing one of the most severe and intense heatwaves in decades, making it imperative to take immediate steps to reduce carbon emissions. 

India is on the fast track, with numerous significant government programs to boost the economy while combating climate change, including the Clean Air Mission, the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, the National Solar Mission, and the Indian Cooling Action Plan, to name a few.

New SEBI Norms on ESG Reporting

In May, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) released a circular declaring new sustainability-related disclosure standards for the top 1,000 listed businesses by market valuation by FY23.

A revised business responsibility and sustainability report (BRSR) format will be used for such reporting. The decision was first taken on March 25 during SEBI’s board meeting. It includes-

  • Goals and targets for sustainability, as well as performance and environmental disclosures, may be required. These disclosures could include resource consumption (energy and water), air pollutant emission levels, greenhouse emissions, transitioning to recycling and reuse, waste generated and waste management methods, and biodiversity.
  • Indian companies must report on employee gender and social diversity, measures for differently abled personnel, turnover rates, median earnings, welfare benefits for permanent and temporary employees/workers, health & safety, and training.
  • Companies must disclose social impact assessments (SIAs), rehabilitation and resettlement, and corporate social responsibility in the community. Consumers must announce product labeling, product recalls, data privacy and cybersecurity complaints.

Is it a Good Time to be an ESG Professional in India?

It is a great moment in time to be a part of the ESG revolution; A perfect time, undoubtedly, whether in India or anywhere else across the world.

  • The demand for analysts, strategists, and other professionals connected to the environmental, social, and governance challenges have never been higher. 
  • The rise in ESG jobs in India demonstrates that the concept of letting values influence a company has gained popularity over the last decade, peaking during the pandemic.
  • As more sectors integrate ESG into their overall strategy and business goals and make sustainability and community connections a significant part of their actions, demand for ESG roles may continue to rise in the coming years. 
  • India’s pledge to net-zero emissions by 2070 at COP26 is a key milestone, with the country on track to create over 50 million new job opportunities in the climate industry for discerning individuals. India is also quickly establishing itself as a worldwide green innovation powerhouse, which, if adequately planned, will result in a tremendous increase in job opportunities.
  • Increased investments in indigenous technologies and manufacturing skills for climate and resource conservation will allow the sector to grow more quickly. The proposed Union Budget 2022-23, which places a significant emphasis on climate action and sustainable development, is expected to fuel the fire. 

What Will the ESG Professionals Do?

Most ESG experts will work in tracking, reporting and analyzing ESG data and help corporates frame the right policies and frameworks to further improve their ESG performance. Professionals working in the investment world will look at ESG metrics and integrate them in the investment process. Eventually, all the work done is aimed towards helping corporates, investors and other stakeholders in making business decisions which drive net-positive impact.

These details will be leveraged to determine if the risk margins connected with critical business activities align with the company’s ESG requirements (or the investor). ESG experts will also use these insights to understand better what measures might be taken to mitigate potential risks.

Will a Career in the ESG Field be Rewarding?

A significant percentage of the professionals who enter the ESG field are drawn to it by more than just the financial incentives and gain; apropos to the revolutionary impact ESG is set to have on the future of the planet and the wellbeing of the society, many young and motivated professional enter the field with a firm determination to be a part of a large-scale impact.

It is a well-known fact that companies are now being scrutinized and rated more than ever before (in terms of sustainability, compliance, and governance). ESG Investing is based on the very idea of making responsible investing decisions. There are numerous ESG variables to consider, including climate change, resource depletion, waste, and pollution are all environmental concerns. Social issues include working circumstances, such as slavery and child labor, employee relations, and diversity. Executive salaries, bribery, corruption, political lobbying, and donations are all examples of governance.

If one is aware, and concerned about the environment, society and collective responsibility, ESG can be an extremely rewarding vocation, and in no uncertain terms, a great driver of a more sustainable and enduring future.