Putting the ‘health’ into ESG Mandates (‘ESHG’)

Health & Education

It is great to see that the CBI backed by Chris Witty (Chief Medical Officer) has recently launched the Business Framework for Health in October, which encourages the use of data and analysis to measure and incentivise positive contributions by businesses to health in three areas:

i) Direct Impact – business influence on the workforce;

ii) Secondary impact – business influence on health via products and services sold;

iii) The external influence on communities in which they operate and wider environment /society.

According to this article by Forbes, this is all part of a long-term plan is to put the ‘health’ into the ESG Mandates and become ‘ESHG’ (I appreciate this doesn’t role of the tongue as easy as ESG).

This makes complete sense and in fact, if you delve deeper into the ‘S’ of the ESG (‘Social’) it was already there, only wellbeing is masked by symptomatic measures such as staff turnover, which can underpin the ‘S’. Employee Engagement and retention is now firmly linked to wellbeing in a number of different areas. And as mentioned in a previous post, wellbeing is now proven to drive higher  profitability.

The article goes on to mention;

‘……measuring what matters gets done, yet current performance metrics in the healthcare system are not geared enough to incentivise prevention and we are seeing a healthcare system becoming unsustainable post-pandemic’ and the need to;

 ‘… incentives as part of a wider systemic change to link health to wealth and address the 85% of the factors determining our health that lie outside the formal health and care system’.

‘ …..we need health data to develop the metrics, which will require transparent, consent-based, secure sharing data to reassure the public.  We need trustworthy systems to address citizen concerns over the use of their data, while enabling data sharing across the life course in multiple sectors; this would accelerate our understanding of drivers of age-associated poor health and identify preventative health strategies and therapies with the potential to improve healthy life expectancy and to level up health’.

Well there are a number of exciting points to make about the quotes, that deal nicely with the first and third points of the Business Framework for Health agenda mentioned earlier and they are here now;

  • In the UK there are now health assessment providers who have developed app-based tools (Android/iOS) to support an employees understanding of their general health, using a combination of blood test result, questionnaire and data from wearable technologies which drives a digital report/healthscore (think annual MOT for you and me). This approach, adopted by a number of companies, is an informative and ‘preventative system’ – it is consent-based and facilitated by secure data-sharing. There are also GP/Dietician consultations following those results to support a patient’s understanding. (n.b. before you ask, the HR department does not get to see a named individual’s results)
  • There is an ability to link the wellbeing information above (think activity), to team/organisation-based wellness programme goals such as step count or other measures, which can be linked to recognition and reward (n.b. the health to wealth point). The solutions above are personal and meaningful and generally have a high (c.70%) engagement rate. Whilst a teams’ step count goals will help put the H into ESHG, it can also help reduce Environmental impact for those choosing other methods of commuting.
  • Using the above can also drive informative and meaningful conversations in the growing telehealth – telemedicine professionals worldwide. In my previous post, I outlined the material growth in digital health investment in the first half of 2021. With a qualified medical professional having access to your data (subject to consent), we are much more likely to reduce the burden on the healthcare system in areas such as;
    • mental health, 
    • chronic diseases and;
    • musculoskeletal conditions.

Using this regular annual/bi-annual health check method can drive healthier eating and more exercise.

With the use of data and the support of employers at a modest cost (*can be offset by the lower fuel costs given the ubiquitous influence of virtual meetings), these wellbeing app solutions and telehealth solution providers will have informative educational benefits to all parts of society and the ‘levelling up’ agenda mentioned.

We are very fortunate at Polestar to be speaking with a number of healthtech and wellbeing solution providers. If you would like to know more or have an interest in the space, we would be delighted to speak with you.

Let’s start investing in health like what’s happening in climate (COP26). It’s time.

By Anusheh Khan on 08/11/2021