Leading IR, sustainability and governance experts gathered in London this week to share their insights and expertise on ESG issues facing UK and EU businesses. The ESG movement faces challenges, including increased scrutiny from regulators and investors, and political backlash. However, ESG issues remain top priorities for stakeholders and shareholders. The forum provided an opportunity to hear different perspectives and stories on his ESG integration from companies, investors and IROs.
Where do ESG strategies fit into a company’s overall business objectives, how to build a good account of their ESG efforts, how companies are focusing beyond climate change, how COVID-19 became an ESG acronym S and ESG data collection.
ESG in business strategy
One session explored how companies integrate ESG into top-level corporate strategy, how to ensure consistency of messaging across the business, and the associated risks and opportunities.
For Spectris CFO Derek Harding, ESG efforts are not separate from the company’s overall strategy. “There is no separate ESG strategy for him, it has to be part of what you do,” he said during the session.
Responding to the question of who within a company is responsible for building a successful strategy, Harding said it is a collective effort involving the company and the people it engages.
“What is very interesting to me is the shift in power towards the wider society,” he said. but with social media, choice and so many big issues, employees, customers and society all have the opportunity to really impact you as a company. should be well aware.
State Street Senior Advisor and ESG Lead Richard Lacaille shared his view. Asked what steps companies could take to incorporate ESG into his strategy, he said: [is to ask]: What is your business purpose? he suggested. Secondly, how does your business affect different stakeholders and thus how do you ensure that ESG is considered as part of your business strategy? [ultimately] meet your business objectives. That’s the kind of sequencing I suggest.
Responding to ESG regulations
In addition to changing shareholder priorities, listed companies across Europe are facing a wave of new ESG regulations. Separate sessions will cover the EU taxonomy, the impact of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, how EU regulations are impacting UK regulators, and how companies are managing the complexities of the new framework. and the pace at which new rules are adopted.
William Houston, senior IR and ESG manager at BAT, said:So you have to go through a learning process [to reach] Competent levels on regulatory timelines. Then just keep an eye on things. It’s really about educating people on the inside.
In the UK, the introduction of mandatory TCFD reporting this year has raised awareness of climate-related risks and ensured companies are enhancing their ESG planning.
Panelists considered what the TCFD means for UK businesses. Lili Huang, head of investor relations at Discover IE Group, said the new regulations will pose some challenges, especially for small businesses, as they force companies to think long-term.
‘I have to say [there is a] Especially for small businesses in the UK because what they want from you is the long term. [assessment] How [ESG issues are] It will affect your business,” she said. “But all of us here know that [for businesses] This is only planned for 3-5 years, some of which are probably 1 year. Therefore, it is difficult to align this with long-term scenario analysis and business planning. ”
maintain control of the narrative
In a rapidly changing regulatory environment, some companies struggle to provide concise and compelling ESG presentations to the investor community.
Developing a “robust and holistic” ESG strategy is critical, but making sure your target audience understands and engages with it is even more important. His leading IRO and corporate panels explored how stakeholder expectations are changing and what is important to prioritize in ESG dialogue.
Tish Crawford-Jones, Director of Investor Relations for Q4, said: “Having ESG is most important for him as part of the business strategy because he has internal stakeholders, and then he has an external stakeholder base that is basically investors. How do you make sure you’re telling it [ESG strategy] right?
‘It is done by having an ESG page [on the website] That’s because most investors mostly go there these days and have that feedback loop, so to make sure you understand what investors are saying about you. What are you saying and make sure you answer those questions.