What Upcoming Elections Around the World Mean for ESG in 2024

13 February 2024.

As the global landscape evolves, the importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria has become a central focus for investors, policymakers, and the public alike. With several key elections set to take place around the world in 2024, the implications for ESG initiatives are significant. These elections not only reflect the current political climate but also signal potential shifts in policies affecting environmental sustainability, social equity, and corporate governance. In this article, we'll explore how upcoming elections could influence ESG priorities and what this means for stakeholders.

The Intersection of Politics and ESG

Politics play a crucial role in shaping ESG policies. Government regulations, fiscal incentives, and international agreements can either advance or hinder progress on environmental sustainability, social justice, and ethical governance. Elections, therefore, are pivotal moments that determine the direction of these efforts. The candidates elected into office and their policy platforms can significantly impact the pace and scope of ESG initiatives.

Key Elections to Watch

Several countries are poised to hold elections in 2024, each with potential consequences for ESG:

United States Presidential Election

The U.S. presidential election is arguably the most watched global event in 2024. Given the country's significant influence on the global economy and international policy, the outcome could have far-reaching implications for climate change initiatives, social justice movements, and corporate governance standards. A shift towards more progressive policies could see increased investment in renewable energy and stricter regulations on corporate behavior, while a move in the opposite direction might prioritize deregulation and fossil fuels.

European Parliamentary Elections

The European Union (EU) has been at the forefront of ESG policy, particularly in terms of environmental regulation and sustainable finance. The European Parliamentary elections will be a litmus test for the EU's continued commitment to these priorities. With rising concerns over energy security and economic stability, it will be crucial to see whether ESG remains at the top of the agenda for the newly elected parliament.

Elections in Emerging Markets

Countries like Brazil, India, and South Africa are also scheduled to hold significant elections in 2024. These nations are critical players in the global ESG narrative, given their burgeoning economies, environmental challenges, and social dynamics. The outcomes of these elections could influence deforestation rates, renewable energy adoption, and corporate transparency practices within these countries and beyond.

The Potential Impact on ESG

Environmental Initiatives

Elections could either accelerate or slow down the global response to climate change. Leadership committed to the Paris Agreement and other international accords could bolster global efforts, while contrary outcomes might lead to fragmented approaches and reduced cooperation.

Social Equity

Social issues, including labor rights, health care, and inequality, are increasingly central to ESG considerations. The elected officials' stance on these issues will influence social policies and could affect companies' social responsibility strategies.

Governance and Regulation

Corporate governance, including issues like executive compensation, board diversity, and transparency, could see new standards and regulations depending on the election outcomes. A focus on stricter governance could lead to more robust ESG reporting requirements and accountability measures.

Conclusion

As we look towards the elections of 2024, the stakes for ESG are high. The outcomes of these political contests will not only shape national policies but also influence global efforts to address environmental challenges, promote social equity, and ensure ethical governance. For investors, companies, and policymakers, understanding the potential implications of these elections is critical for navigating the evolving ESG landscape. As the world continues to grapple with pressing global issues, the hope is that these elections will bring forward leaders who are committed to sustainable and equitable solutions for the long term.