I asked ChatGPT what ESG meant for small business – here’s what it said

I asked ChatGPT how small business owners can operationalise ESG. And in seconds, it spat out a near-exact outline of the course I’m about to launch: ESG Explained. But I’m not convinced it’s a bad thing. Keep reading to find out why!

Here’s what the AI came up with:

There are several ways that a small business owner can operationalize ESG in their business:

  1. Conduct an ESG assessment: This can help you understand the current state of your business in terms of its environmental, social, and governance practices. You can use tools like the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Sustainability Disclosure Database to guide you through the process.
  2. Develop an ESG strategy: Once you have a better understanding of your business’s ESG impact, you can start to develop a strategy for improving in these areas. This might include setting specific goals and targets, such as reducing your carbon emissions or increasing employee diversity.
  3. Implement ESG initiatives: Based on your strategy, you can start to put specific initiatives in place to improve your business’s ESG performance. This might include things like implementing more energy-efficient systems, offering diversity and inclusion training for employees, or establishing more transparent governance practices.
  4. Communicate your efforts: Sharing your ESG efforts with stakeholders, such as customers, employees, and investors, can help build trust and support for your business. You can do this through sustainability reports, social media, and other marketing channels.

By operationalizing ESG in your small business, you can not only improve your business’s sustainability and ethical impact, but also differentiate your business in the market and potentially attract new customers and investors.

(Don’t know what ESG is or where it came from? Don’t worry, that’s what the first two modules of ESG Explained cover!)

I have been watching people in my networks experiment with ChatGPT since it launched late last year and there are typically two responses to AI-generated content like this: fear or excitement. 

I’ve always been somewhat of a reckless optimist (see also; my interest in ESG), so I’m going to go with excitement. How cool is it that I came up with the same content as an AI, trained to learn from all the content the Internet has to offer?!

But on closer inspection, while the AI did get a few things right, it also is missing one crucial thing…and that is the lived experience to take the basic theory like strategy, assessment, and communication from just words behind a blinking cursor and actually turn it into something that makes sense for *your* small business. 

So, just for fun, I asked the AI what was missing from its explanation. 

As an AI, I do not have personal experiences or insights to add to the explanation I provided. I can only provide information based on what I have been trained on. If you have any specific questions about ESG and its implementation in small businesses, I would be happy to try to assist you.

Turns out the AI and I have a few things in common. I too can only provide information based on what I have been trained on: and as a communicator with several years of experience in Queensland-based industry businesses, that means I can help you.

Not sure what ESG would look like in your business? 

You might be surprised!

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