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the mentl awards

Many eyes in the UAE will this year be focused on the environment with the E of ESG getting top billing due to the nation’s hosting of COP28.

While topics such as energy, decarbonisation and sustainability will dominate most conversations, and rightly so. In an era defined by a heightened awareness of environmental crises, social inequality, and ethical governance, the concept of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles has emerged as an essential framework for businesses worldwide.

But at the intersection of these factors, an unanticipated but meaningful connection arises – the profound impact of ESG on mental health.

The understanding of mental health has evolved significantly over the past years, with a rising acknowledgment of the role external factors play in shaping mental well-being. These external factors include everything from the natural environment we live in, the societies we function within, to the ethical guidelines by which our institutions operate. As a result, the conversation around ESG has expanded to not only revolve around sustainable business operations but also how they intersect with mental health outcomes.

This is why ‘the mentl awards 2023‘ is celebrating ESG projects which support mental health.

Why? Well, here are five reasons why ESG factors play a crucial role in promoting mental health.

Healthy Environment, Healthy Minds

The ‘E’ in ESG stands for ‘Environmental’, emphasising the role businesses have in preserving the environment. Businesses committed to ESG principles strive for reduced carbon footprints, cleaner operations, waste management, and promoting biodiversity. This commitment contributes to a healthier environment by mitigating pollution and combating climate change.

Research increasingly points to a link between environmental quality and mental health. Exposure to pollution can cause or exacerbate a range of health problems, including mental health disorders. Simultaneously, the existential worry about climate change can cause eco-anxiety, a type of fear related to the future state of the environment. By improving the environment through ESG principles, companies can alleviate these stressors and contribute to better mental health.

Employee Well-being and Social Responsibility

The ‘S’ in ESG emphasises the social impact of a business, which includes fair labor practices, employee well-being, diversity, and inclusion. Companies with strong ESG profiles understand that their staff isn’t just a workforce – they’re people, with mental and emotional needs that need addressing.

A positive work culture decreases work-related stress, burnout, and anxiety, leading to improved mental health outcomes. By providing supportive mental health resources, promoting work-life balance, and ensuring equal opportunities, businesses can create an environment that nourishes the mental well-being of their employees.

Governance: A Pillar of Ethical Stability

Good governance, the ‘G’ in ESG, encompasses ethical business practices, transparency, and accountability. It may not seem immediately apparent how governance affects mental health, but there is indeed a connection.

Employees who perceive their workplace as fair, ethical, and transparent experience a boost in morale and job satisfaction. A culture of ethical behavior fosters trust, which is a fundamental aspect of job satisfaction and mental well-being. Moreover, transparency about the company’s situation and future plans can reduce uncertainty and anxiety among employees, contributing to a more stable mental state.

Community Impact and Collective Well-being

ESG-focused companies are aware of their footprint in the broader community. They understand that their role extends beyond profit-making and includes reducing societal inequalities and contributing positively to their community.

Employees who know they are part of an organisation making a positive societal impact often gain a sense of purpose and job satisfaction. Contributing to a ‘greater good’ can instill a sense of pride and improve mental health.

Resilience, Stability and Mental Health

Companies adhering to ESG principles are often better equipped to handle crises, demonstrating greater resilience and long-term stability. This stability is crucial in providing employees with a sense of job security.

Financial instability and fear of job loss are significant stressors that can harm mental health. By acting responsibly and sustainably, companies not only ensure their longevity but also contribute to the mental well-being of their employees by offering them a stable work environment.

ESG is not merely about sustainable operations or ethical business practices – it’s about the commitment to create a better world for all. That includes taking care of our collective mental health.

By incorporating ESG principles, companies can create a future where business success and mental health go hand in hand. After all, the health of our planet, societies, and minds are interconnected, and we must address them together.

Meet the jury of ‘the mentl awards 2023’