At the recent ESG conference hosted by the fantastic PSMG, we were fortunate enough to listen to the impressive Alexander Rhodes, Partner and Head of Mischon Purpose at Mishcon de Reya. Alex "provides strategic Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) advice and purpose-driven insight to help clients navigate the opportunities and risks presented by a rapidly changing world" - in short, he knows his stuff!
As you can imagine, we were all slightly taken aback when the opening slide was nothing but a picture of a Turks & Caicos Lizard and a Peruvian Flat Bill Bird (fingers crossed I've got those right), however Alexander told stories regarding both. As the analogy goes, due to awful hurricanes, the lizard has had to learn to ADAPT by having bigger and stickier front arms to quite literally hold on. Whereas the bird has had to MIGRATE higher up the mountains from their traditional breeding grounds due to an increase in temperature. Why was this relevant... well diversity is key to being successful when it comes to ESG at your firm!
The Consequences for Business
Ultimately, firms have a requirement to do business differently and there are a few ideas to consider:
1. New Purpose, New Duties
As the world adapts, more fiduciary duties will include ESG considerations, both when it comes to the firm itself but also your clients. So be ahead of the curve and by having plans, strategies and initiatives in place.
2. New Considerations, New Relationships
Linking to the first point, is there data behind what you are doing. The importance of both internally and externally demonstrating the impacts your ESG initiatives are having is rapidly increasing in importance and becoming a minimum requirement for new and old relationships.
3. New Standards, New Scrutiny
CSR has always been important but in reality it is business as usual and a box ticking exercise for so many firms. Whereas, ESG is truly integrated into the firm and purpose led. This is also going to lead to firms self regulating, as inevitably, regulations will come into play - so would you rather be leading the way or caught behind?
To close the talk, Alex smoothly put to the audience what the 'considerations for marketing professionals' was when it came to ESG in their firm and the role they could play. In short, you can be the champions of ESG communicating the need and spirit of it - and if their firm doesn't want to adapt then they should think about migrating to drive change elsewhere, just as we see in the natural world.