ESG Game Changers share a blueprint to better business
LONDON, 12 May 2022 – Hogan Lovells hosted its inaugural ESG Game Changers Summit on 10 May, bringing together the most progressive and insightful minds from business, the investment community, government and those driving the purpose-led business movement to define a path forward that recognises the challenges and opportunities presented by the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda for the business community.
Businesses are becoming increasingly intertwined with ESG concerns which presents a unique opportunity for leaders to become game changers within their own organisations and the wider business community. Recognising the importance of this moment of transition, the ESG Game Changers Summit brought together high profile leaders and future leaders from business, the investor community, government and those driving the purpose-led business movement to discuss the most pressing topics of the day.
The Summit was opened by business leader and campaigner Paul Polman and included a keynote address from the Rt Hon. Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade as well as an overview of where there is cross-party consensus within Parliament, in a speech delivered by Alexander Stafford MP, founder and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on ESG; before launching into lively discussion on: what good corporate governance looks like, the role of finance in driving change and ESG stakeholder engagement.
While it was agreed that each business, industry and region will have nuances to consider when applying best practice, there was widespread consensus throughout the day on actionable steps businesses should be considering.
Here’s the ESG “Game Changers blueprint” to better business:
- Act, but act fast.
We’re making progress but that progress isn’t happening fast enough. We’re living well beyond our planetary means. Earth Overshoot Day, the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year is falling earlier and earlier each year. We need to ramp up our actions and make commitments to reach net zero in the nearer term.
- Rethink the role of business within society.
We’re moving towards a reset moment, whereby businesses are rethinking their purpose and how they can contribute positively to wider society. At the same time, the younger generation are making decisions based on their morals and they are moving up the ranks to one day lead these companies. There is an opportunity for businesses to put purpose at the heart of their strategy and become responsible businesses.
- Collaboration and partnership is key.
Progress will not be made if businesses work in siloes. We need to collaborate and work in partnership across the private sector and government to find workable solutions that address the Sustainable Development Goals. In practice, this means that while businesses, investors, government and civil society may all be aligned in their vision and end goals, the ways in which they will each set out to achieve those goals may vary. For example, for business to truly partner with government, they need to understand, engage and act with regards to policy.
- Hold yourself accountable and be transparent.
The world needs leaders who are committed to taking responsibility by making public commitments to hold themselves accountable. By being transparent with progress, companies can build trust with their stakeholders at all levels.
- Re-align goals to focus on the long-term, not the short-term.
Rather than focus purely on short term reporting and financial incentives, companies and financial institutions need to focus on a longer-term, sustainable approach.
Hogan Lovells would like to thank our guest speakers for joining us for an enlightening discussion on driving forward the ESG agenda.
Opening address: Paul Polman, Business leader, campaigner and co-author of “Net Positive"
Keynote address: Rt Hon. Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
Additional address: Alexander Stafford MP, Founder and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on ESG, and Member of the House of Commons BEIS Committee
Chantal Line Carpentier, Ph.D., Chief, New York Office of the Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Paul Lindley OBE, Author of “Little Wins”, Chair, London Child Obesity Taskforce, Chair, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK and Founder, Ella's Kitchen.
Nicki Lyons, Chief Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Officer, Vodafone UK
Claire Maloney, Partner, Kekst CNC
Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever
Katherine Mulhern, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Restitution
Saker Nusseibeh CBE, CEO, Federated Hermes Limited
Ketan Patel, Chairman, Force for Good
Chris Turner, Executive Director, B Lab UK
David Walker, Chief Operating Officer, British Land
Michaela Wright, Head of Corporate Sustainability, HSBC
Hogan Lovells Contacts:
Adrian Walker, Global Head of ESG
Susan Bright, Global Managing Partner for Diversity & Inclusion and Responsible Business
Nicola Evans, ESG Partner
Patrick Sarch, ESG Partner
Robert Gardener, Director of Government Affairs, Chair of UK2030
Sukhvir Basran, Co-head of Sustainable Finance & Investment
Every effort was made to ensure the event was sustainable, including a plant-based menu, locally sourced food and drinks, evergreen set design and the offsetting of all related carbon emissions.