The first day of ESG Global sponsored by Planetly from OneTrust, was packed with fascinating insights.
If there was a common theme it was the need for greater harmonisation of ESG standards. But to start at the beginning we need to go back to 1965.
In 1965, the Beatles had a number one hit with Help!, and in the US significant reforms to voting rights for African Americans were implanted. Also in that year, President Lydon Johnson demanded that the US did something about the volume of C02 in the atmosphere. “What a shame,” said Robert Allender from EnergyUse Strategy Advisors, “that the US didn’t do anything about it,” — aside from listen to the oil lobby.
But we learned so much more, Wanying Ling from FNC informed us that blockchain is being used in the APAC region to support carbon exchange.
And then we heard the ‘coolest thing of the day.’ On the theme of sustainability, Dr Mario Hardy told us about technology that could generate water out of thin air.
Meanwhile, Henry Lang of the G20/B20 International Task Force informed us that companies listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange are now required to publish ESG reports.
But maybe some of the more catchy headlines of the day were revealed in a seminar a little later when Aruna, from the Partnership Advisory, talked about the need to “decode ESG.” She added:
“The object of ESG is not to produce a good looking report.” In the same seminar, Nick Wood of FTI consulting discussed the issue ethics versus compliance — “they are not always the same thing,” he said.
Later, in a seminar presented by Natalie Kenway editor of ESG clarity, Leanne Clements of Carbon Tracker, Robbie Epsom of CBRE Investment Management and Harald Walkate of Finding Ways Ahead discussed climate change.
Here are a few snippets:
- “Companies should expect to see a lot more climate related shareholder resolutions.”
- “85 — 90 per cent of buildings in Europe will still be here in 2050, and a lot are energy inefficient.”
- “A change in the board room concerning climate policy can have implications globally, at scale”
In the penultimate talk of the day, Marleen Oberheide, of OneTrust ESG put it all rather succinctly.
“Why is ESG important for business?” She asked. “Because ESG rating are becoming more important for investors, customers and employees.”
It is simple, to the point, but maybe ESG advocates sometimes forget to emphasis that simple point, which might get lost in the complexity.
In our last seminar of the day, Robert Allender was joined by Calvin Lee Kwan of Link REIT, Feeheen Mohamed of C&TM and Andrea Williams of Aleph Zain.
In this seminar we heard about:
- ESG by design.
- The idea that “The board needs to own the strategy of ESG.”
- That a “lot of companies fail because employees want to work for a company with ESG credentials but the board don’t get it.”
- And that we are seeing “pass the parcel in terms of who is responsible for ESG. It beggars belief that because all of us should be taking responsibility for it.”
ESG Global - day 2
Sessions will include:
- ESG in the age of cybersecurity
- Practical Steps for ESG: How to embed Environmental, Social Sustainability and Governance Across A Global Institution
- Understanding the Digital ethics role in ESG: What does 2022 have in store?
- Innovation and Sustainability
- Is it green or greenwashing: How to spot and stop companies from misleading investors & consumers on environmental practices
- Business case & framework for enterprise sustainability strategy for Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) industry
- Moving beyond climate metrics: Considering how other environmental, social and governance data metrics will mature in 2022 and beyond