We are delighted to confirm that Senior Strategy Director, Corina Kwami will speak at PrivSec & GRC Connect London, coming soon.

Taking place on March 12 and 13 at Park Plaza, Riverbank, London, PrivSec & GRC Connect London provides a platform for organisations to address the cumulative nature of risk.

PrivSec & GRC Connect London’s comprehensive agenda is led by subject matter experts, business chiefs and industry leaders, giving attendees a deep-dive into challenges and solutions on the rapidly evolving GRC landscape.

Event speaker, Corina Kwami is a Senior Director of Strategy at Purpose & Head of Office EMEA. She has worked in over 20 countries across Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia in global health and environmental, social & governance (ESG) initiatives.

Corina will be at PrivSec & GRC Connect London to discuss how ESG and GRC can dovetail to drive sustainability and performance while reducing risk.

Below, she goes over her professional journey and introduces the key issues of her session.

A new Governance model: the future of GRC is ESG

  •  Tuesday, 12th March 2024 (Day 1), 11:40-12:10pm GMT
  • Theatre: GRC Theatre

Click here to register for free to PrivSec & GRC Connect London



Could you briefly outline your career pathway so far?

With a decade of experience in over 20 countries across Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, my career began in public health, mainly in settings where the access to water, roads and electricity was a consistent barrier to advancing the SDGs.

Leveraging experience working with different stakeholders and advocacy in global health and infrastructure, I recognised an opportunity to join up the SDGs and environmental, social & governance (ESG) initiatives through efforts to cultivate shared language and understanding.

This involves systems thinking, co-creation and collaboration to cultivate meaningful engagement between sectors that do not necessarily overlap in cultivating a shared vision for the future.

Prior to joining Purpose, I led the ‘Sustainable Living Places’ portfolio at the Royal Academy of Engineering which applied a systems approach to decarbonising housing and infrastructure.

I hold a Bachelor’s degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Master’s from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a Doctorate from University College London, where I deepened my work on infrastructure, specifically on water governance, stewardship and risk.

Described as a ‘renaissance woman,’ I also bring perspectives as a jazz musician and former competitive swimmer - specifically on what jazz and sports can teach us about leadership, partnerships, and innovative thinking.

What does a healthy relationship between organisational ESG and GRC look like?

A healthy relationship between ESG and GRC would be an effective understanding of how to optimise the tools we have in our midst (GRC) to catalyse greater action on ESG, deliver on stakeholder expectations, mitigate and adapt to risks to ESG and enhance systems resilience.

For me, the entry point into ESG was through smart cities about a decade ago, and then in the water sector where mitigation, adaptation and resilience include addressing not only carbon emissions, but delivery on other benefits to society.

In those sectors, particularly city-level data, the challenge was always collecting, managing, and getting data in a form that is accessible and provides insights. The work in the water sector focused on what isn’t disclosed in terms of water use, the reasons why and where reporting, road-mapping and implementation can pave the way for sustainable practices.

It’s about having the data in a form that can generate insights as well as being able to communicate it in a way that motivates and sustains action over time. A critical first step in this is ensuring we speak the same language.

Now, there is a proliferation of different ways of reporting on ESG, including GRI, CSRD SASB, TCFD - a full spectrum of ways to interpret data, which connect in different ways to the sustainable development goals. GRC on the governance, risk, and compliance side can ensure that for example, due diligence for transactions, sustainable procurement procedures and systems can be deployed in context of current ESG benchmarks, transparency trends and evolving legislation.

A shared language, expectations, and assumptions are necessary to optimise those tools. My current work focuses on how different audiences engage with the messaging - within an organisation or externally, for example on materiality as a concept or with the tools themselves. The starting point in each example is having a shared understanding, for sure.

Is ESG being fully embraced at Boardroom level?

There’s definitely a lot more discussion about ESG at Board level, and I think those who are already working in this area are the converted. In some Boardrooms, you may already have champions driving this forward, while in others, you may need to leverage messengers that board leaders trust.

The water sector and construction materials are two areas where we’ve seen new companies embracing ESG, yet there is work to do in supporting champions and leveraging messengers more effectively. In doing this work, it’s key to keep a big picture view of where there may be resistance and backlash. For example, in the US, where we have seen ESG positioned in a polarising way in some instances - pitted against a just transition.

It’s important to recognise that much of what ESG advocates for is good governance, which is not a new concept. There’s also a need to consider the different levels of expertise and understanding when communicating about ESG, and design the right kind of support. The start-up and small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) realms are particularly interesting, as they are still in the early stages of standardising their approach to ESG. This presents an opportunity to support these organisations as they embed ESG into their operations.

Similarly, larger, more established organisations need to consider how different users and implementers engage with existing frameworks. The key is to find effective messaging and communication strategies that bring people along on the journey toward ESG integration, whether they are already converted champions or just beginning to explore the concept.

What are the subsequent benefits of a positive relationship between ESG and GRC?

The benefits of this relationship include strengthening existing systems and cultivating new norms for the future ahead. This can drive greater movement on sustainable development goals globally. For most industries, in the medium and long term, it creates virtuous cycles. Looking ahead, organisations that can iterate, shift, and adapt will thrive. 

ESG can be a game changer in attracting and retaining talent. Employees often choose companies aligned with their values, and this helps attract innovation. A positive relationship between ESG and GRC can leverage data collection, risk priorities, compliance, and reporting on ESG. Real-time, accurate data becomes a competitive advantage. These aspects are not mutually exclusive but rather mutually reinforcing.

Can you outline three major challenges that organisations must overcome to start getting the ESG / GRC relationship right?

Firstly, it’s crucial to double down on strengths. This includes recognising that the ESG landscape has evolved significantly. In the past, an ESG department or person may have been seen as a ‘lone ranger,’ but now there’s a surge of energy around the topic. Different organisations bring various strengths to the table, and it’s essential to recognise and leverage these.

Secondly, there should be an emphasis on buy-in - internally and externally. This means gaining support not only within an organisation but also within the industry. Identifying champions and messengers can help in this regard. Additionally, it’s important to identify and prioritise low-hanging fruit while also working on creating consistency over time.

Lastly, organisations should be excited about the potential for industry-wide impact. This work is a long-term endeavour, and no single organisation can do it alone. Recognising this can inspire collective action across networks and industries. By collaborating and thinking collectively, organisations can help bring about significant changes and movements in the ESG space.

Don’t miss Corina Kwami exploring these issues in depth at PrivSec & GRC Connect London in the session:

A new Governance model: the future of GRC is ESG.

The ESG landscape is constantly changing, with new regulations forcing organisations to integrate sustainability factors into business decisions. There is greater public scrutiny of corporate ESG performance.

Companies are changing the way they manage ESG and there is a growing interest into how GRC practices can be leveraged to support and achieve ESG goals.

In this session, we examine the value in the relationship between ESG and GRC, and consider how this can help executives in sustainability, finance, risk, legal, and internal audit roles.

Also on the panel:


A new Governance model: the future of GRC is ESG

Location: GRC Theatre

Time: 11:40am – 12:10pm GMT

Date: Tuesday 12 March 2024

The session sits within a packed agenda of insight and guidance at PrivSec & GRC Connect London taking place March 12 and 13, 2024.

Discover more at PrivSec & GRC Connect London

GRC, Data Protection, Security and Privacy professionals face ongoing challenges to help mitigate risk, comply with regulations, and help achieve their business objectives - they must… 

  • Continually adopt new technologies to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Build a culture of compliance and risk awareness throughout the organisation.
  • Communicate effectively with stakeholders and keep them informed of GRC activities.

PrivSec & GRC Connect London takes you to the heart of the key issues, bringing together the most influential GRC, Data Protection, Privacy and Security professionals, to present, debate, learn and exchange ideas.


Click here to register for free to PrivSec & GRC Connect London