It’s finally here!
If you happened to miss our webinar on ESG last month, don’t despair.
You can now read the event’s full transcript below.
A huge thank you to our three speakers, Gabriela Herculano of iClima in the UK, Claudia Álvarez Troncoso of Etikamente G|E|C in the Dominican Republic, and Nicole Phinopoulou, a Lawyer & Legal Advisor in Cyprus, for shedding light on this fascinating and highly topical subject.
Here are some of the event’s main highlights!
How has the COVID 19 pandemic impacted ESG and ESG practices these days?
Gabriela Herculano: COVID was a very dramatic example for the deniers that are still out there—and, for example, in the US there are quite a few of those—of how this is no doubt a man-made problem. Because we stopped our economies from running business as usual, and we stopped the coal fire power plants, we stopped the natural gas fire power plants, because we closed the industries and we closed the malls, and that demand for energy just suddenly disappeared. And we saw what happened. Greenhouse gas emissions dropped for a short period of time, but they drop materially so that’s man-made… Even China, Beijing, you’ve seen the pictures of the beautiful blue skies, so that I think was a shocking, striking image to all of us, the seven billion people on the planet that, my gosh, we’re really in this race to continue to produce things in a very unsustainable way and we’re destroying the planet in the process. So, I think that stopping that continuous chase for higher GDP made us see that we’re damaging the planet, it was so in front of us. We could see images of parks in Thailand that suddenly within five or six months without having people go there, the plastic waste went away, vegetation came back to life.
Where do you see ESG heading towards during the next decade or so?
Nicole Phinopoulou: What we have seen happening in big companies, like asset managers, BlackRock or even ExxonMobil, is that the bigger investors, they will not just let it go. They will investigate you, they will review, they will know all the policies, so ESG is a general thing. Each organization must see it, look at governance, see all the ESGs, and decide where they want to go, how they want to invest.
Also, the other thing is that it also depends on the governments, there will be competition between governments. This depends on the less advanced or developed countries but usually you may see examples from governments that you don’t expect. For example, in Internet level things, I have seen ESG ahead in India, and I didn’t believe that for a sector such as the Internet. You see Thailand, you see Maldives, for example. I have worked on funds on the environmental side, they’re independent but interconnected. It’s not going away, it’s a big thing.
What is the top reason for a company to consider ESG?
Claudia Álvarez Troncoso: Ethics is a very important thing and all of it is a mindset, and I think that’s going to drive every other decision that’s being made by the companies. Of course, the support needed, and the pressure applied by civil society to make governments know what the necessary things are to do and the changes to be made and for the loss to be emitted, that is important. Of course, reputation is very big on this and that will drive also into the financial side of the business. It makes total financial sense to go into using ESG metrics, it’s going to be something that will attract more business, it’s going to be a more ethical business, a more responsible business and, of course, sustainable in the future. It’s not a no-brainer. Of course, you must learn about this, you must change your mindset and see it, not only that you’re going to win X amount of money but what other intangible returns you’re going to get, and how you’re going to impact lives and that’s I think the best thing of all of this.