Exclusive Video: Is ESG tarnished by the demand for finance?

Partner at Bates Wells Nirav Patel joined us at Sustainability LIVE London to give an exclusive insight into finance and the ‘tick box’ exercise of ESG

Recognised as a B-Corp, the UK-based law firm Bates Wells demonstrates its own commitment to sustainability, not solely based on its accreditation, but the work it does with financial organisations to deliver on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment plans. 

The question posed by Nirav Patel, Partner at Bates Wells, to establish the opening points, “Is ESG tarnished?”

The idea of ESG and whether it is truly impactful across society is one of the key points that Patel makes during the opening of his keynote at Sustainability LIVE London, and he says: 

“Interestingly, there was a strong view that came out of our research, [and people] felt that the [term ESG] had become tarnished. 

“Some of the things that were pointed at were additional regulations that have been brought into public company requirements around reporting, and the feeling that this has generated a ‘tick-box’ type approach.” 

Patel continues by providing some key sources from Bloomberg and Harvard Business Review, which suggest that the opposite angle is taken and ESG is a measure of how certain events could impact the value of financial investment and business performance. This seems to be a contrary statement to that which companies strive for—the ability for ESG to encourage businesses to think about their impacts on ESG. 

There is also concern around how marketers use the term ESG and it seems that many of them dilute the importance of this abbreviation—airing on the borders of greenwashing or using ESG as a means of gaining finance, not reducing impact to the fullest extent. 

The absence of a universal ESG standard 

One of the key points that Patel addresses in this keynote is the subjectivity of ESG. While companies understand the lack of a set universal ESG standard, the fact that diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), social impacts, and governance are all very subjective in nature, raises questions about whether they can be measured and benchmarked by data. 

Patel is here to talk about the role of investors in addressing the current views and actions around ESG. By addressing each of the fields of view from the perspective of Bates Wells, this keynote session, ‘Not losing impact: Considerations for investing in purpose-driven businesses’, delves into this further. 

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For more insights into Sustainability - check out the latest edition of Sustainability Magazine and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn & Twitter

Other magazines that may be of interest - EV Magazine | Energy Digital

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Net Zero LIVE will be hosted live from the QEII Centre, London on the 6th and 7th of March, and streamed globally via our virtual event platform Brella. Net Zero LIVE London will feature four LIVE themes, incorporating Sustainability LIVE, EV LIVE, Scope 3 LIVE, and Energy LIVE to deliver a holistic conference and exhibition experience with opportunities to connect with like-minded peers and actively contribute to crafting a sustainable future. Following Net Zero LIVE, viewers can also sign up for Sustainability LIVE Dubai and Singapore. 

Sign up to the The Global Sustainability & ESG Awards 2024, coming to London on the 11th September 2024. 

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