Sustainable PR client University at Albany School of Business discusses ESG and the High Peaks Impact Award with Foothills Business Daily: 

Officials with the new High Peaks Impact Award, a business award for companies which build “ESG” ideals into their workplaces, say that the award will be given at the end of a symposium that itself will help businesses learn more about ESG, or Environmenal, Social, Governance.

“We talk about ESG, but it’s still not very clear” to many in the business world, said Nilanjan Sen, dean of the UAlbany business school, the host of the award and symposium.

ESG, in short, is a collection of strategies and systems that companies can employ to improve the environmental efficacy of their organizations and the social wellbeing of their companies and employees. These strategies help a company meet or exceed governmental regulations.

The symposium on Oct. 15, will help business leaders, investors and academics understand how Wall Street might value companies that employ ESG, how companies are currently utilizing individual ESG ideas, and how technology trends are driving future ESG developments.

Believers in ESG say that this can be done quite painlessly inside most companies, and the Symposium and High Peaks Impact Award is intended to showcase this, they said. The “High Peaks” of the awards are the Adirondack High Peaks, and the focus will be on companies in New York, especially from the Capital Region north.

“There couldn’t be a better time for us to be announcing an award like this,” said Amy Ryan, the founder of ESG Strategies, a Saratoga Springs-based company. She has been a catalyst in developing this award. Monday, Oct. 4, the Nobel Prize in physics went to three scientists who have been working on the “climate crisis,” Ryan said.

A key to ESG is a focus on improving how a business interacts with the environment.

Sen says that students he is encountering already are looking at these strategies, and expansion within the business program, already one of the largest in the nation, will incorporate ESG.

It’s an idea that Matthew Grattan, the director of Community and Economic Development in the university’s research department, knew little about just five months ago. His department also oversees the Innovate518 program that organizes incubator programs and works to promote emerging tech startups.

His job is partially to find methods to help move faculty and student research into the marketplace.

In the short time since he learned of ESG, his program is already looking at ways to give startups an ESG grade that angel investors or investment banks will use to see that the company is “sustainable,” referring both to the business model and the environment.

When the startup is getting ready to seek capital, the rating would help them become more investable, Grattan said. “They have a better attraction potential.”

Sen said that they have eight or nine nominations for the award, but the nominations are still open, and they are expecting more. He said that many companies that employee ESG strategies “are humble,” that they do not want to brag about their accomplishments, but he is encouraging them to apply for the award anyway and let others figure out if the work is worthy.

The work will be reviewed by one committee of experts first to bring the candidate list from the full number down to the three best and then again, by another committee, to pick the top winner.

The three top companies will present information about their own companies during the symposium. The winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

Sen said this is the first year, and so they are only offering one award, but in future years, they are hoping to have a small collection of awards to showcase best practices and strategies in various areas of ESG.

[For more on the nominations, read hereor apply here. For event information on the symposium and award, click here.]