This month the team and I have been reflecting on the changes we are seeing as we begin to emerge from the pandemic and what this means for the future. As the scale of the economic and social damage of the crisis becomes clearer, so too does the evidence that investing in sustainability stimulates growth – and that neglecting interconnected ESG risks is a cost we cannot afford – both in the immediate and longer term.
In the policy space leading economists have found that green recovery packages not only deliver better results for the environment, but also outperform more traditional fiscal stimulus measures – delivering more jobs, higher short-term returns and increased long-term cost savings. As Lord Deben, the chairman of Sancroft and the UK Committee on Climate Change, has urged, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address the urgent challenges of COVID-19 and the climate crisis together. The steps that we take now to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic can accelerate the transition to a successful and low-carbon economy and improve our climate resilience.
This is true for government, but equally so for business. In an article published in edie earlier this month our chairman argues that building back better means that sustainability is the only business strategy. Leaders must confront systemic risk with greater urgency and accept that responsible, resilient and sustainable business practices underpin long-term business viability and success.
The green recovery is the focus of our new webinar series with leading law firm, Ashurst, and global environmental consultants, RSK. Our Analyst Erika Furbert shares the key takeouts and implications from the introductory webinar, which explored how ESG can maximise and protect value through a sustainable recovery. Stay tuned for the findings of the second webinar on the built environment, and for details of future events on energy and infrastructure, retail and manufacturing and supply chains.
The costs of irresponsible business practice is the focus of an article by our consultant Pendragon Stuart who looks at the cautionary tale of Boohoo. The fast fashion retailer had more than £1.5 billion wiped of its market value in two days following reports of modern slavery and dangerous working conditions that may have contributed to the COVID-19 outbreak in Leicester. As he argues, the pandemic has shown that we are all connected and the cost when that connection is abused is increasingly evident. Hopefully this will be a turning point for responsible business and a lesson for others on how to get ahead of imminent ethical, reputational and financial risks.
And continuing the theme of our interconnectedness, our Analyst Erika Furbert shines a light on institutional racism and provides guidance on why and how companies can respond, both internally and externally. The social pillar, so long neglected, demands our attention and action – far beyond words.
At Sancroft we seek to challenge business to think differently and to make sustainable profits they can be proud of. I hope our insights inform and inspire you to drive change in your organisation. Please do get in touch to find out how we can help.
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