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ESG and Product Stewardship 
 

While global warming dominates ESG metrics, ESG casts a broad net -- with public health at the intersection of environmental and social issues (and some calling for inclusion of an "H" for health in ESG).  See Fortune Magazine, "It's Time for ESG to Incorporate Health," Editorial by Nigel Wilson, group executive officer of Legal & General (a UK-based global investment company), August 25, 2021.  According to Wilson,

Companies should also measure the impact of their goods or services on customers’ health. Organizations should self-regulate before government regulators step in with product bans or punitive taxes. They should rethink how they source their materials, determining whether any partners in their supply chains are involved in activities that might harm consumers’ health. 

At this point, it is difficult to know what role consumer protection and "right to know" laws like California's Proposition 65 will play, if at all, into the developing standards for ESG metrics. There is no single standard for ESG metrics; rather a variety of different measures have been developed by different companies, including international standards boards on sustainability to financial services companies, such as Dun & Bradstreet.

 

Some companies, however, are moving forward with product stewardship programs  -- for various reasons -- including industry expectations and shareholder and/or customer demands. In some cases, companies may also make inquiries of their suppliers (e.g., seeking assurances their suppliers are in compliance with various labeling and packaging laws, such as California's Proposition 65). Suppliers who are targets of these inquiries may need to make similar inquiries and demands of their own suppliers to comply with their customers demands.

 

 

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Proposition 65  compliance plans