ESG in agribusiness: planning needs to get off the ground in 2023

By Bernardo de Castro, president of Hexagon's Agriculture division

Earth in a green background

30 January 2023

The discussion about the adoption of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) principles is gaining more and more prominence in the planning of companies year after year. Following the debate between companies in the agribusiness sector, it is possible to perceive the maturation of sustainable development, which went from an optional issue to a mandatory agenda. 

The change in attitude towards the implementation of practices that take ESG principles into account is based on understanding the urgency of the issue, which is even demanded by consumers. The result is that, in 2023, it should figure as a central point in business. In the technology sector, for example, the consultancy Gartner placed sustainability among the top 10 strategic trends that organisations need to explore this year.

In the report, it does not appear as an isolated issue, but rather a practice that should cross all technological trends in 2023. In a recent Gartner study, CEOs reported that environmental and social change are now among investors' top three priorities, after profit and revenue. Executives should then invest in more innovative solutions designed to meet ESG demand and meet sustainability goals. 

According to the consultancy, to do this, organisations will need a new technology framework that increases the energy and material efficiency of services, enables business sustainability through technologies such as traceability, analytics, renewable energy and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and implements solutions to help customers achieve their own sustainability goals.

At Hexagon, a global leader in sensors, software and autonomous solutions, for example, the sustainability strategy is based on the role that products and solutions play in the market, as well as the company's processes and actions. To achieve the greatest possible impact, Hexagon performed a thorough risk analysis and assessment and defined five key sustainability areas, which cover a broad spectrum of opportunities, to minimise risk and maximise sustainable impact. 

Each is linked to clear commitments and actions, providing global direction and enabling synergies across all ESG initiatives. These commitments and actions include: Enable sustainable development through Hexagon solutions; Operate sustainably to improve your environmental footprint; Drive sustainability in the supply chain; Drive sustainability through culture and people; and Involvement in activities that support solutions to social challenges.

Have clear and well-defined objectives is an important first step in developing the ESG strategy in any company. With the market giving more and more space to guidelines related to the theme, it is not difficult to seek inspiration and knowledge of how to do it. The large agribusiness companies already have more consolidated projects in the area and now I see that there is an effort by medium and small farmers to turn their attention to the creation of initiatives. There is still a long way to go, but working to achieve a more sustainable future for our planet is a commitment that cannot be postponed until next year.