The ESG indices have become an indispensable tool not only to measure a corporation’s sustainability: Strategic Management Report, UTM, Malaysia


Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)

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Strategic Management Report

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“The ESG indices have become an indispensable tool not only to measure a corporation’s sustainability efforts but also to channel sustainable strategic competitive advantage business firms”.

Critically evaluate the accuracy and relevancy of the statement above.
This is a statement-based individual task. In a statement-based assignment, students must critically evaluate the extent of truth, accuracy, and relevancy of the statement in the current and future applications within the business context. Do not assume that the statement is flawless, but instead, students must usurp a critical approach in ascertaining the correctness of this statement.

In grading this sort of work, examiners are looking at the candidate’s character, opinion as well as their ability to reason. To begin with this sort of coursework, it is naturally imperative for students to identify the key words raised in the statement. The keywords in the statement could be as follows:

  • ESG indispensable
  • ESG as a tool
  • Measurement of sustainability
  • Sustainable strategic competitive advantage

The statement raises the key notes above reflecting a one-sided appraisal of ESG as “the” designated tool to measure a firm’s sustainability performance. Is this approach correct? Is ESG an omnipotent concept? Is it unchallengeable? The question after the statement requires you to analyze the points and conclude if the statement is either “accurate” or is it still “relevant” today? At the end of your work, the examiner must be able to discern from your answer to what extent the statement is still accurate or relevant in the current business context. To aid students in scaffolding their answers, I will post a few questions that might be relevant for your analysis.

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Please note that these questions are not at all exhaustive!

  • How was ESG developed? Who developed it and why was it developed? What literature is there to show the gradual emergence of ESG?
  • Why is ESG viewed as a tool? What do you mean that ESG is a tool? What is it used for? Do you have case studies to show how it works?
  • What prompted ESG to be viewed as an essential tool? What is the role of stakeholders in generating this toolset? Do you have literature to show the stakeholders’ momentum in this aspect?
  • How is ESG used to measure sustainability? A quantitative approach or a qualitative approach? Why do they measure sustainability in that way?
  • How has ESG emerged to be recognized as “the” indices of corporate sustainability? How has firms leveraged these scorings to their build their competitive advantage? What case studies can you refer to? Any success stories? What literature supports the ideal of leveraging ESG as a source of a firm’s competitive advantage? What “strategic advantages” does it channel to a business firm?
  • Although ESG has risen, its values and contributions are questioned. Who questioned the notion of ESG? What literature is there to evidence the repulse towards ESG? Why are there emerging challenges towards ESG?
  • Given these challenges, do you think ESG is still an “indispensable” tool? Is it accurate to claim that ESG is still an indispensable tool to gain competitive advantage for a firm? What cases show otherwise? Have corporations manipulated the numbers for personal gains instead of gaining competitive advantage? Are the numbers tabulated in ESG trustworthy? What about greenwashing? Which current cases show that corporations are abusing ESG numbers as a smokescreen to cover their ill corporate intents?
  • In all, given the pros and cons of ESG, do you think ESG will still be regarded as being relevant in modern business society? Why not? Any evidence to argue so?

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