ESG Investing Conference

ESG Investing

Top 5 takeaways from our ESG Virtual Roundtable  JD SupraTop 5 takeaways from our ESG Virtual Roundtable  JD SupraTop 5 takeaways from our ESG Virtual Roundtable  JD Supra

Impact Investing Conference

Impact Investing Forum 2022

London. April 28-29, 2022.

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Every organization, sector, and business model must address the issue of environmental, social, and governance (ESG). More than 60 representatives from 26 countries joined our roundtable discussion to discuss their ESG legal strategy.
Dentons has established a global ESG group. We hosted a virtual roundtable in September with more than 60 representatives from over 26 countries to discuss the development and implementation of an ESG legal strategy. Victoria White, partner at Dentons UK moderated the discussion. The panel included legal leaders from different fields and companies around the world. Below are the main conclusions.
1. ESG is about the future viability and success of your business
To have a viable business model in 10-15 year’s time, your organization must be financially sustainable. ESG is a Board-level concern in this context. The panel asked the most difficult questions. They wanted to know why ESG is important to your organization from both an operational and strategic perspective. How will your organization engage and relate with its stakeholders, its community, and its people in the future. Although it may be tempting to focus on immediate regulatory compliance, this will not maximize long-term impact. ESG can be embedded in your business’s short, medium, and long-term strategies by adopting a holistic approach.
2. Understanding your stakeholders is a must.
ESG law is changing rapidly. We are witnessing a rapid change in legal requirements, expectations, and duties. This complexity is made worse by the fact that ESG can be used internationally. Lanesha and Katie spoke in detail about the variety of financial and non-financial reporting requirements organizations must meet. General Counsel and Heads Of Legal must be able to understand the current and foreseeable legislation and society’s expectations. Organizations must also consider the industry’s expectations, objectives, standards, and metrics that are relevant to their jurisdictions. To prioritize the ESG risk areas and opportunities that will have the greatest impact, a materiality assessment is essential.
3. Engaging your business for operational success
To ensure you have an ESG strategy and implementation plan that is focused on key business drivers and imperatives, it is important to build on your materiality analysis. To achieve success, it is important to get the support of key operational leaders. Dijana shared her insights on how to embed technical support and training where appropriate. Lanesha and Katie shared the governance structures they use to deliver change across the business. This includes the board and executive steering committee, codes of conduct, and policies.
4. Setting ambitious targets and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
What is measured gets done! Dijana was the one who challenged our attendees to be bold in setting KPIs and targets. It is already a significant step forward to work with your leadership team in order to set these targets. External stakeholders are crucial in identifying key targets and ensuring transparency. Depending on the organizational ambition, external benchmarking metrics might also be an option. Once you have established your targets, you must create a plan to achieve them. KPIs work best when they are linked to key leadership/management team incentives and bonus plans.
5. Reporting confidence
Depending on your business, stakeholders, and the regulatory environment in which you operate, some disclosure requirements may be mandatory or externally audited. If this is the case, the main message was to have the confidence to audit and manage your ESG program internally. You may be surprised at how much baseline information exists if you already have a sustainability program and CSR program in place. Given the ever-evolving transparency requirements of ESG, it is important that the legal team takes responsibility for the quality, governance, and accuracy of this reporting. Differentiators will emerge as reporting confidence grows.
Your ESG journey
During the session we also asked participants what their current ESG focus was. During the session we also asked participants what their current ESG focus was. Most attendees were at the beginning of their ESG journeys and focused on developing their ESG program and strategy.
Most attendees were at the beginning stages of their ESG journeys and focused on developing their ESG program and strategy. This is a reflection of the changing regulatory and legislative landscape. It is crucial to ensure that your ESG strategy and program are well-developed and integrated into your core business strategy. Dentons is available worldwide to discuss the unique risks and opportunities ESG presents for your company, regardless of where you are in your ESG journey. The full recording of the session can be viewed here.

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ESG Investing Conference