Nava Strategy

Employee, Environmental, Social, and Governance Goals

ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance, and it refers to a set of criteria used by investors and stakeholders to evaluate a company’s impact and sustainability practices. The roots of ESG can be traced back to socially responsible investing (SRI) movements that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s. However, the modern ESG framework gained prominence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries as a response to growing concerns about climate change, social inequality, and corporate governance issues.

Nava Strategy has added an ‘E’ for employee, by moving it out of ‘Social.’ This is in order to focus the importance and growing concerns employees face in the 21st century that require its own pillar. These include, workload and pressure, uncertainty and instability, burnout, resource constraints, among many others. Focusing on real time bottom-up issues voiced by employees and current employment trends, for example cultural, generational, political, social, and economic, all play a vital role in recruitment, retention and organizational success.

A Breakdown

Employee (E)

Employee factors include the importance of prioritizing employee development, engagement, and empowerment as fundamental strategies for organizational success and societal impact. This should not be an add-on, or annual perk, but a seamless part of recruitment, retention, and organizational culture.

Examples: Employee benefits, work-life balance, stress reduction, workplace culture, opportunities for growth, professional development, among others.

Issues: stress, work-life balance, burnout, including long working hours, uncertainty, resource constraints, compassion fatigue, heavy workloads, emotional strain, and lack of support. The consequences of burnout can be severe, leading to decreased productivity, increased turnover, and negative impacts on employee well-being.

Solutions: competitive salary and benefits, implementing stronger cultural values around work-life balance, four-day work weeks, health insurance and wellness programs, paid sick days and vacation time, workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives that are effective and measured, retirement savings and matching programs, corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Case Study: Four-day work week at Imagine Canada that strengthens Canadian charities and non-profit; at Gravity Payments the minimum salary is $70,000 annually. Companies that have location-agnostic pay, such as Basecamp, Gumroad, Daily. The pay structure here is that everyone in the same role at the same level is paid the same, and there are no negotiated salaries. TechGirls Canada is a nonprofit organization based in Toronto, Ontario, dedicated to promoting diversity and equity in the Canadian technology sector.

Environmental (E)

Environmental factors encompass a company’s impact on the planet, including its carbon footprint, resource usage, pollution, and commitment to sustainable practices.

Examples: Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, adoption of renewable energy sources, waste management initiatives, and conservation efforts.

Issues: Some companies face challenges in aligning their operations with environmental goals due to cost implications, regulatory hurdles, or lack of awareness.

Solutions: Implementing energy-efficient technologies, setting emission reduction targets, investing in renewable energy projects, and adopting circular economy principles.

Case Study: Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan is a comprehensive example of environmental initiatives within an organization. They have committed to sourcing 100% renewable energy by 2030, reducing water consumption, and minimizing waste throughout their supply chain. Wattpad, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, is a platform for writers to share and discover stories. They implemented various community engagement initiatives, including literacy programs for underserved communities and partnerships with organizations promoting diversity and inclusion in literature.


Social (S)

Social factors pertain to a company’s relationships with its employees, communities, customers, and broader society. This includes diversity and inclusion, labor practices, human rights, and community engagement.

Examples: Fair labor practices, employee diversity and inclusion programs, community development initiatives, and ethical sourcing policies.

Issues: Issues may arise related to labor exploitation, discrimination, community backlash, or lack of employee well-being programs.

Solutions: Implementing fair labor standards, promoting diversity in hiring and leadership, supporting community development projects, and establishing grievance mechanisms.

Case Study: Patagonia is renowned for its social responsibility initiatives. They provide fair wages, offer extensive employee benefits, and engage in activism supporting environmental and social causes. Their “1% for the Planet” initiative donates 1% of sales to environmental organizations.


Governance (G)

Governance refers to the systems and structures that guide a company’s decision-making processes, transparency, accountability, and adherence to ethical standards.

Examples: Board diversity, executive compensation practices, anti-corruption policies, shareholder rights, and transparent reporting.

Issues: Governance issues may include conflicts of interest, lack of transparency, corruption, weak shareholder rights, and ineffective risk management.

Solutions: Strengthening board independence, enhancing transparency in financial reporting, adopting robust ethical codes, and engaging stakeholders in decision-making.

Case Study: The Volkswagen emissions scandal highlighted governance failures. The company deliberately manipulated emissions tests, resulting in significant environmental damage and loss of shareholder trust. Volkswagen has since implemented governance reforms and committed to electric vehicle production to rebuild trust.


Integrating ESG principles into organizational strategies is crucial for long-term success, risk management, and maintaining stakeholder trust. By addressing environmental, social, and governance issues, companies can create value, foster innovation, and contribute to sustainable development. However, ongoing commitment, transparency, and collaboration are essential to overcoming challenges and achieving meaningful impact.


If you wish to Inspire, Innovate, Impact, contact us today!


Our Commitment

Nava Strategy – your trusted partner in helping to bridge the gap between vision and impact. We provide tailored consulting to non-profits, social enterprises and creatives, guiding them towards sustainable growth and meaningful outcomes.


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