Human Capital as a Key Factor for Organizations’ ESG Goals


  • Adrian Petre The Bucharest University of Economic Studies
  • Doru Alexandru Plesea The Bucharest University of Economic Studies



human capital, ESG, sustainability, tertiary education


The integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards and principles in the development strategy is the organization’s commitment for long-run and inclusive sustainability. These pillars are currently important priorities for stakeholders, managers and policymakers. Thus, the main objective of this empirical work is to analyze the extent to which European companies currently manage to fulfill certain specific requirements related to ESG and the role played by highly qualified human capital in this process of sustainable development. To achieve this goal, a diverse research methodology will be used, consisting of critical comparative analysis of the specialized literature, interpretation of statistical data, and econometric analysis. Our analysis is based in particular on European companies data from various fields of activity and different sizes, extracted by Eurofound through a complex survey. The main results demonstrate how European Union Member States are clustered and ranked based on different ESG pillars, with Sweden, Denmark, Estonia or Finland as the best performers and Greece and Cyprus as the weakest performers. At the same time, the research highlights the limited role of highly qualified human capital in supporting the development of the ESG pillars included in the analysis. We also pointed out the effect on companies' competitiveness and resilience, as well as the need for underperforming companies to integrate human capital in the process of long-term sustainable and inclusive development, being the basic resource of any organization. The article may have a contribution to the literature because it demonstrates how EU Member States can be grouped according to specific ESG criteria of domestic companies, and also the role of highly qualified in boosting these criteria. Our study also may have possible practical implications, both for the academic environment, and also for the managers involved in the development of the business sector. We consider that our empirical results may contribute to the decision-making process regarding the future investments of the organizations.