Environment, social & corporate governance is the future of corporate communications: PRmoment-ON PURPOSE Webinar

The pandemic has sharpened the focus on corporate governance and ESG ( Environment, Social and Governance). In order to find out what role communication plays in the ESG narrative for the corporate sector PRmoment India along with ON PURPOSE organised a webinar on the subject.

The main speakers were:

1) Sarika Naik, chief marketing officer & chairperson, diversity – India, Capgemini

2) Nitin Thakur, director -brand and communications - The Max Group

3) Arijit Banerjee- AVP for communications, ReNew Power

4) Priya Zutshi, senior manager-group communications, Mahindra

5) Matt Peacock, partner -Blurred (UK) & international ESG expert

6) Girish Balachandran, managing partner, On Purpose

Difference between CSR and ESG

The discussion kicked off with Priya Zutshi, senior manager-group communications, Mahindra; explaining the difference between ESG and CSR, pointing out that ESG is very data driven and there is a clear road map of actions to be taken, both mandated and voluntary.

Matt Peacock, partner -Blurred (UK) & international ESG expert pointed out that normally risk is assessed from outside in for a firm across a shorter time frame. But with ESG, the company has to evaluate the risk it may cause in terms of ESG over a much longer 5 to 10 year period.

Girish Balachandran, managing partner, ON PURPOSE pointed out this was a subject that was getting increasing attention; and that it would be useful to understand the key challenges for communication practitioners for crafting ESG narratives and how it fits in with matrices like diversity.

Nitin Thakur, director -brand and communications - The Max Group emphasised the growing importance of ESG saying that 40 to 60% of a company's communication should be around ESG. Thakur also explained that over 80% of global investment is taking place based on ESG metrics.

Arijit Banerjee- AVP for communications, ReNew Power said that ESG compliance was key for alternative energy businesses, pointing out that it was cheaper to buy power from ESG compliant organisations than from those who were not.

Sarika Naik, chief marketing officer & chairperson, diversity – India, Capgemini outlined that Capgemini gets an astounding 1800 client visits to India in a year and increasingly ESG compliance has become a talking point with them. Capgemini has also  releases its new purpose statement last week that says, “Unleashing human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future”.

Watch the full discussion here:

Metrics to use for ESG

In the second half of the webinar, the panel took detailed questions from the audience about which companies have done well in terms of compliance and what kind of metrics can be used for ESG.

Tata Group, Godrej, Mahindra, Max Group and ReNew Power were among the firms flagged off by the panelists and participants as firms that do ESG compliance well. Internationally, Ikea and food firm Danone were mentioned  as firms that do a particularly good job with ESG.

Among the metrics that were mentioned that could be useful for communicators to learn about were the BRR ( business responsibility report that is part of the annual results report), the GRI standards for external disclosures, the ESG rating index MSCI and for a complete sectorwise look at relevant ESG matrices SASB. Panelists Zutshi and Peacock also advised looking at the concept of materiality, that accounts and scores for ESG factors that matter financially to a firm.

Listen in to the full Q and A with the participants here:

Brought to you by PRmoment India in partneRship with ON PURPOSE .

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