Echo hosted a timely breakfast ‘Question Time’ panel discussion, to consider the implications of the rise of Environmental and Social Governance, on Tuesday 9 November 2021, at The Ivy, London.
While much is written and said about ESG's role in business and society, how should business leaders and those advising them practically respond to the often apparent tensions and contradictions between ‘purpose and profit’? We heard from four individuals who are at the heart of this debate – either driving ESG change in organisations or responsible for its governance.
We adopted a Question Time format to the meeting and used a series of 5 principal themes to structure the discussion:
Is the tension between corporate good and corporate profit ultimately a battle between two opposing and incompatible objectives?
How can those responsible for driving ESG in their organisation avoid the charge of ‘corporate greenwash’?
What strategies can businesses adopt to knit (or embed) in ESG into broader corporate strategy?
How can you benchmark and measure progress in such a relatively new and fast paced environment?
How realistic is it to expect the institutional and retail investment community to rebalance value between social, environmental and financial returns?
Our high-level panel includes individuals who each brought a different perspective to this debate:
Matthew Gwyther (Panel Chairman), Ex-editor of Management Today and now a Partner at a social purpose Think Tank, Jericho Chambers
Susan Hooper, Echo's Advisory Board Member, portfolio NED (Uber, Rank Group, Affinity Water, Moonpig.com) and Board member of Chapter Zero, focused on bringing the ESG agenda into the Boardroom through NEDs
Sandra Macleod, Group CEO of Echo Research and Governance and Sustainability Board member of luxury brands group, Richemont
Prof. Simon Pringle, Founding Partner specialist sustainability strategy advisory firm, Project Rome
Katy Taylor, Chief Customer Officer, Southern Water