How “ESG” and Good Growth fits together

ESG Good Growth
ESG and Good Growth

Environment Social Governance and Good Growth companies Abstract

  • Pooja Khosla and Edmund Bradford discuss the concept of good growth and how it fits into the concept of being a good company.
  • Pooja says that ESG is designed to provide standardized metrics to measure how an organization impacts all the creatures that live on the planet, including  human beings.
  • Edmund says that investors are stepping up to utilize this knowledge to support Good Growth which is beyond and better than regular growth.

Transcript How does ESG fits into Good Growth

[00:00:08 –> 00:01:11] EdmundHello, everyone. My name is Edmund Bradford. I’m director of the Good Growth Academy. And in these little videos, we’re looking at the subject of, ESG   which is a major term used commonly when talking about sustainability, especially by the investor community. Today we’re going to be thinking about how ESG fits into the concept of good growth. And to help you with that, I’m very pleased to welcome Dr Pooja Khosla, who’s vice president of client development at Entelligent. Good morning Pooja thank you for joining us. So we talked to the last video about what ESG is, how it’s different from sustainability, and why it’s important. What is it designed to do and how does it fit into the kind of concept of being a good company?
[00:01:13 –> 00:02:11] Pooja: So Ed I would say that ESG is designed to measure to standardize for metrics of part of which is just sustainability. Pretty much why do we need accounting? Accounting, make sure that the financial goal of an organization was achieved. ESG is the accounting of environmental, social, and governance causes of the organization. When we talk about growth, growth alone is an incomplete concept. Growth needs a partner, a partner where the growth is beyond the financial fact sheet, where the organization can show growth from inside out in their systems, in their governance, in their contribution to the society, to the planet.
[00:02:12 –> 00:02:25] EdmundIt’s not just about this is a thing that I found interesting when delving into ESG, that it actually is not just about looking at an organization’s impact on the planet. Is it’s far more than that?
[00:02:26 –> 00:03:59] PoojaIt is far more than that. It is also looking at organization impact on the creatures that live on the planet, including as human beings. So it’s beyond environmental, how an organization takes its employees, how the organization takes its consumers, how it basically sets and grows the trust of the community that supports that organization. So it is much beyond just contributing to the planet. It is contributing to the people on the planet as well as to the other creatures. Like, look at the impact on biodiversity. So it contributes to everyone, every creature that lives on the planet. So in order to make sure that we achieve good growth, it is time when we think beyond financial returns. I know financial returns are the fiduciary responsibility of everybody, but we have to consider environmental returns, social returns, governance returns pretty much on par with financial returns. If we have to focus on good growth and good growth is the best way to grow, it is to grow with trust. It is to grow with confidence. It is to grow with the value creations of all stakeholders rather than just value extraction.
[00:04:00 –> 00:04:39] EdmundFrom your work with the investor community. Have they suddenly all become angels now, the investor community? As I said, well, we’re doing this because actually, we all want to be good investors, et cetera. Or is there just some really hard business cases out there and evidence and research that suggests that having a company with really good leadership, I’m thinking about companies like, Unilever than really trying to become a good company? Is there more and more evidence now that investors are seeing that most of the companies or actually give them better returns?
[00:04:39 –> 00:05:57] PoojaSo and I would not say angels and demons over here, rather, I would be scientific being a scientist, it’s about information. Like even when we talk about efficient market hypothesis, perfect information is very important. Before today, before the ESG, there were a lot of blind spots. But today, because of a lot of forms, a lot of data and research companies jumping in to measure the impact of the organization on the environment, social, and governance with respect to recent technology, Artificial Intelligence, and big data. With respect to regulatory push on reporting, more companies are reporting than ever before. There is a lot of information now with this rich information. Investors have more knowledge, more guidance than they used to have before. And investors are stepping up to utilize this knowledge, this guidance to support good growth that is beyond growth and better than growth.
[00:05:57 –> 00:06:36] EdmundThank you, Pooja. That’s excellent. That’s very helpful. I feel like we should talk about this all day, but I think that’s really been helpful so far. In the next video, we’re going to be talking about one specific area of business with which we were involved, which is marketing, and why ESG is particularly impactful for the marketing profession. But until then, thank you very much. Put of your time. Very helpful as ever. And I look forward to our next video. 

How can sustainability be a real differentiator for companies?

Good Growth Sustainability
Sustainable brand

In this video:

  • Edmund Bradford and Stephen Mangham discuss how “sustainability” and “good growth” can be real differentiators for customers and other stakeholders
  • Stephen explains that consumers are more attracted to brands who have a social purpose.  There is far more interest, awareness and expectations from consumers that companies are making a positive difference to the world, or at least mitigating any damage they may be causing.  “Sustainability” therefore, must be a strategic imperative.

Transcript

The timings are shown to help you jump in to the video at the right point if needed.

[00:00:09 –> 00:01:10] EdmundHello, everyone. I’m Edmund Branford. I’m a Director of the Good Growth Academy, and I’m delighted to have Steven Mangham with us today, who’s a branding expert and a master at Masters of Scale International. Now, in the previous video, we talked a little bit about sustainability, good growth, and marketing, and just getting our heads around the concept a little bit. Whereas in this video, I think it’d be really nice to talk about how sustainability and good growth can be a real differentiator for customers and perhaps other stakeholders in the marketplace. So, Steven, thank you again for joining us. What are your thoughts on how sustainability can be not just a box-ticking exercise for suppliers when filling in tender documents, etcetera, but more of a real differentiator, either in B2B or B2C? 
[00:01:10 –> 00:02:22] StephenWell, it’s not new news that consumers are more attracted to brands with an attractive point of view on the world who are promoting a sense of usefulness. I remember when I worked on Coca-Cola Live Positively back in 2010 (so it was a long time ago now,) and there was a lot of day-after recall research evidence that said that the advertising that had the most impact in terms of memorability and persuasiveness were the ads that carried social purpose messages. And there’s a wealth of evidence out there in the last few years that – all other things being equal – consumers would prefer to buy a brand that has an attractive social purpose over one that doesn’t. There’s absolutely a strong consumer reward if you can communicate and articulate a strong set social purpose for your brand.
[00:02:22 –> 00:02:31] EdmundAnd do you see that both changing and getting stronger in B2C and B2B situations?
[00:02:36 –> 00:04:06] StephenBroadly, yes. Certainly from a B2C point of view, there’s far more interest, awareness and, frankly, expectations from consumers that they expect that companies and brands are doing something positive for the world or at least mitigating any damage they may be causing. And that’s getting stronger and stronger. And of course, with a social media-driven world, there are constant conversations all the time about how well brands perform in this way or not. So you can’t ignore this as a brand today. From a B2B point of view, I think, to be frank, every customer and every stakeholder now has an interest and an expectation when it comes to these matters. For example, if you look at the growth of ESG-driven investors, it’s a common question today in analyst meetings, “What’s your ESG strategy?” If you don’t have one, those investors may think twice about investing in you.
[00:04:07 –> 00:04:39] EdmundAnd there are very interesting stats now on ESG investment. I think it’s interesting, isn’t it, that a lot of this change is being driven both from the customer side, as you talked about, but also from the investor side and from the government side as well. And it’s almost like this perfect storm now of a force pushing companies towards more of an ESG compliant future, whether it be B2B, B2C or other situations.
[00:04:39 –> 00:04:42] StephenAbsolutely. Because of all of these stakeholders.
[00:04:45 –> 00:05:07] Stephen: They are both very aware of the wider expectations of the people they serve. And then as individuals themselves, there’s an awful lot of them are thinking it’s important that we do this anyway. So I think, as you say, it’s something of a perfect storm. You certainly can’t ignore that today.
[00:05:07 –> 00:05:57] EdmundI think from my perspective, maybe more than the B2B space than the B2C space. I think it used to be an old tick box exercise. I have one client I’ve been working with for over 15 years, and their client is Unilever. And so in the past, Unilever has kind of just said “Tell us what you are doing doing on sustainability” and fill in this space on the form.  You’ll get the tick in that bit and then it’s on to the other aspects of the service. But now you can’t do that anymore. It’s about “I want to know what you’re doing. What metrics are you going to be using for measuring the change? When is it all going to happen? I want concrete plans. And by the way, if I’m not happy about it, you’re not a supplier anymore.” So it’s much more of an order qualifier now than just a little bit of icing on the cake.
[00:05:57 –> 00:06:31] StephenAbsolutely. And also, as we said in the previous interview, it’s not about being looking at sustainability as a useful add-on, or it’s some additional measures that you’re taking. Is it at the heart of everything you’re doing? Is it a central part of your strategy? And I think that’s a major shift. And I think companies like Unilever, for example, I know, are expecting from their suppliers that they want to see that sustainability is a strategic imperative for their suppliers as well as for themselves.
[00:06:32 –> 00:06:49] EdmundThat’s excellent. And, of course, the heart of all this, we have this Chief Marketing Officer trying to get their head around it. Trying to make it all work. And in the next video, we’ll talk a bit more about the marketing function and the Chief Marketing Officer. Steven, again, thanks very much for your time.
[00:06:50 –> 00:06:50] StephenMy pleasure.
[00:06:50 –> 00:06:53] EdmundI look forward to our next short video in the series.
[00:06:53 –> 00:06:54] StephenThank you.

What is “ESG” and why we should care about it?

ESG Good Growth
ESG

An interview with Dr Pooja Khosla

When discussing sustainability, “ESG” often comes up. What is it and why should we care about it?

To help answer these questions, I interviewed Dr Pooja Khosla, Vice President of Client Development at Entelligent.

Her thoughts can be summarized in three key points:

  1. “ESG” is about measuring how the actions of companies, consumers, investors and all stakeholders impact broader society.
  2. Before the industrial revolution, companies were focused on value creation. After the industrial revolution, the focus shifted to measurements of financial results and therefore value extraction.
  3. If “sustainability” is the destination that stakeholders want to reach, then “ESG”  is the measurement of progress towards that destination.

Transcript

The timings are shown to help you jump in to the video at the right point if needed.

[00:00:09 –> 00:00:48] EdmundWell, Hello. I’m Edmund Bradford. I’m a director at the Good Growth Academy and in these short videos, we hope to help give people an understanding of some of the key areas around sustainability. In this little video, we’re going to talk about a term that you hear quite a lot when people are talking about sustainability, which is “ESG.” To help me with that, I’m delighted to welcome Dr Pooja Khosla, who is Vice President of Client Development at Entelligent. Good morning to you.
[00:00:48 –> 00:00:50] PoojaGood morning, Edmund.
[00:00:50 –> 00:01:17] EdmundWelcome to this little video. ESG is something that we hear all the time, and it’s a big abbreviation. It’s used a lot by a lot of people. Would you like to just give our viewers some background as to what it is and why, if you haven’t heard of it, why you should take ESG seriously?
[00:01:17 –> 00:03:17] PoojaSo, Edmund, I feel that when we started trading, when we started development, when we started to learn about business, ESG was always there because of all business. Initially, I’m talking about the Greeks. I’m talking about the era before the Industrial Revolution. All businesses were created for the purpose of value creation. There was always an exchange of value and how value can impact society, how value can improve or develop our state of living, or can add to our current living standards. But after the Industrial Revolution, there was a lot of focus on profits, the balance sheet indicators. The financial back sheet got more attention than the sustainability and development back sheets. Then there was a switch. Instead of value creation, people started believing in value extraction. That is what we see was happening earlier. Lots of value extraction . That is why we have to go through the climate emergency issues, exploitation, labor exploitation issues, lack of governance issues. I believe now it is time to take a U-turn. It is time to go back to the original concept that is value creation, because that is a pathway of sustainability, and we have to do it soon. We have to do it fast. We have to make a U-turn today and not wait for tomorrow.
[00:03:18 –> 00:03:47] EdmundThat’s very interesting Pooja.  By the way.  I have spent the last 25 years of my life working with companies and students trying to help them understand the importance of value. Value is such an important term in marketing as well as in shareholder value, etcetera. So I think it’s absolutely a very good point. And so what does ESG mean to start with and where does that fit into value creation?
[00:03:47 –> 00:04:16] PoojaSo ESG means Environmental, Social, and Governance. That it is much broader than the full form of this acronym. It is how actions of corporations, companies, consumers, investors and all stakeholders impact the broader society. A lot of people confuse ESG with sustainability, but they are very two different concepts. Sustainability is the destination that we want to reach by our actions. ESG is a pathway, a GPS, to this destination.
[00:04:45 –> 00:05:17] EdmundAnd by the way, you’ve done a very good article on that whole point, I know, for us. So on that very point, Yes, people, please do read this article, which is on our Good Growth Academy blog. You were helpful in helping me understand this. So would you say that ESG is kind of the measurement of our progress to that destination? Is that what ESG is trying to do?
[00:05:18 –> 00:05:51] PoojaAbsolutely. ESG is how we can measure how we can look into that RV on the trajectory that we intend to be on our sustainability course, to set metrics, to set measurement, to set standardization, to set compliances. And we all know that what can be measured can be managed. So ESG is the first step to manage sustainability.
[00:05:52 –> 00:06:17] EdmundAbsolutely. And I think from my point of view, looking at it fairly new, I think, in comparison to you Pooja in the sustainability area, it seems to me that not only has there been an explosion in interest in sustainability, but of course,  also the whole metrics around how you measure sustainability has also exploded hasn’t it? Which is why we hear ESG mentioned so often, especially by investors, for example.
[00:06:19 –> 00:07:37] PoojaThat is so true. That right now, especially during the Covid era and two years before that, the interest in sustainability has exponentially increased. To be very honest, I am in this field when this field was called development economics, and then we graduated into fancy acronyms like ESG, SDGs, SRI, PRI, and all but the hard nice in development economics, how we can make our economy, business and finance revolve around real development. Development is very different from growth. Growth can be measured because it’s a  monetary term. It’s the financial faction: growth accompanied by contribution and improvement and standard of living,  lifestyles, betterment of humanity, betterment of the environment, betterment of governance. That is development. So absolutely, we need to look into ESG from “transparency towards development,” which is growth! Growth is a part of it.
[00:07:38 –> 00:08:07] EdmundThat’s excellent. Thank you, Pooja. And that’s been a really useful conversation for me as well. We will pick up on this subject of growth in our next video. So hopefully that has helped people understand ESG, why it’s important and how it’s different from sustainability. We’ll look at how it links to good growth in our next video. So thank you, Pooja and I look forward to connecting with you again soon.
[00:08:08 –> 00:08:11] PoojaThanks. It was a pleasure being here with you today.

3 Vital Steps to make the Transition to a Good Growth Company

Good Growth Sustainability
Good Growth

Summary:

  • Making the transition to a sustainable  Good Growth Company requires significant change. Yet people often fear and resist change when it is driven by other people.
  • However, there are 3 core steps that will help you make an effective transition. They work because they recognize the importance of involving people in the change.
  • The steps are: create a clear need for change, share a compelling sustainable vision of the future, and create opportunities for involvement in the transition.

Introduction: what to do first?

So, you have decided to transition your organization to becoming a Good Growth Company (GGC) by focussing on delivering sustainable profits through sustainable and ethical growth in line with the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations. But this type of change is never easy. We all fear the unknown and especially change which is controlled by other people. We also have to push ourselves to break our old practices and embed new and more helpful ones.

How can you achieve a transition to good growth through good sensible leadership practices, in a way that values your people and their contribution to your company?

Three common change leadership mistakes to avoid

There are 3 mistakes which many leaders make when driving change in their companies:

  1. They do not explain why the change is necessary. They are obviously familiar with the reasons for the change and might even think that the explanation will demotivate people (and this is a danger) but more commonly, demotivation comes because people feel alienated from what is being proposed.
  2. They explain what will change but not what the change will deliver. This means that the members of staff in the company do not understand how the company or they themselves will benefit from what is happening.
  3. They drive change at pace because they know what needs to happen and this makes them feel comfortable. Sadly, the staff feels uninformed, uninvolved, and untrusted.

However, there are three change leadership steps that good leaders can use to create direction and momentum in major change initiatives:

Step 1: Create a clear ’need for change’ picture.

Step 2: Share a compelling vision of the future.

Step 3: Create widespread opportunities for involvement

Step 1: Create a ‘need for change’ picture

In thinking about the transition to a GGC, you as the leader of the organization will have thought a lot about the destination you want to reach. However, if this is the starting point of your engagement with your employees or colleagues, there is a danger of this seeming to be a personal crusade. If you have ever heard anyone describe a change as “change for change’s sake” then the leader has not answered the vital question of why the change is necessary.

The starting point for communicating the change needs to be why change? The more your staff can understand and feel the need, the more they will be driven to make the journey.

The ‘need for change’ might already be clear for your organization. There might be a clear outcome if you do not change – you might lose customers, costs might escalate, or you might become an also-ran in your market. This will make a need for change picture easy to create and easy to communicate to your teams. The only danger will be if you oversell it and make people feel as though you are threatening them.

On the other hand, your wish to become a GGC might be driven by a conviction that there must be a better way rather than the “writing being on the wall”. In this situation, it might be that your organization could successfully continue as it is, but you all agree that it would not be the place of which you are proud, allowing you to adhere to your values and convictions and stand out from the mediocre crowd.

You should not miss good opportunities to involve your team in developing the need for change. You might share your observations and some of your conclusions and ask them what they make of your observations, how they read them, whether they see indicators which say the same thing or even show a contrasting picture. Avoid asking ‘closed questions’ to which the answer is yes or no, for example, “Do you agree with me?” These questions are unlikely to promote openness.

You will know that it is time to move onto the vision when the questions and comments begin to ask, “What is to be done about it?” Be prepared to explain the next steps clearly.

Step 2: Share a compelling sustainable vision of the future

Having convinced your team that change is necessary, it is important to describe to them what you intend the future organization to be like. This vision should link to the need for change by showing that if the vision is achieved, the issues raised in the need for change will have been addressed.

It is also important to note that the vision might be a stretch in both imagination and practice for those who see it. Therefore, it needs to be clear to everyone that it is consistent with the past successes and capabilities of the organization.

The best visions are the ones that show the proposed future is a logical next step in the organization fulfilling its original purpose and values.

Above all else, the vision of the future should excite those who hear it. The vision should describe an organization in which they can see their values, that is, those of which they are proud. It should propose a challenge but also it should be achievable even if success is some way down the line.

The vision should be tangible and not an unrealistic pipe dream.

As discussed in the previous step, encourage discussion about the vision of the future. You may present a developed vision and ask for structured feedback using questions like, “How do you see the organization in the future? How does the vision make you feel about the future?” As before, avoid asking closed questions and “leading the witness.”

It might be that having shared the need for change in Step 1, you can then, in this step, involve your team in co-creating the vision of the future. My experience is that this is best done in small groups rather than one large group.

It might be that having shared the need for change in Step 1, you can then, in this step, involve your team in co-creating the vision of the future. My experience is that this is best done in small groups rather than one large group.

It is also essential that you discuss how the organization of the future might serve its external audiences like its customers, partners, and investors. It is always tempting to devote much time to talk about “our values” and what we can expect for ourselves, but introspective organizations can easily become self-absorbed and in the end, they can lack a driving purpose.

Once you have shared the vision be prepared to explain what will come next and what opportunities there will be for your team to be involved in the transition.

Step 3: Create widespread opportunities for involvement

We all know that when someone else makes a change that impacts us, it frequently induces fear because of the loss of control and the unknown future. However, when we make changes for ourselves or when we are involved in a change in our company, the involvement creates more of a sense of control and an understanding of the future. Both of these reduce the feelings of fear.

Great leadership is not achieved by pushing your ideas about the future onto your fellow leaders and all your team members. This will make you feel better, but it will make everyone else’s change more challenging. It may also lead others to question your espoused values.

One way to manage this dilemma is to “give up control to gain control”.

By creating opportunities for your team members to be involved in shaping the decisions and the implementation of change, you will support their change journey. After all, if they can see what you see about the world and the organization, will they not be able to draw the same conclusions?

In any discussion of change leadership, most practitioners place a high emphasis on the criticality of communication. It is true that communication is a vital component – our teams have to know what is happening. However, communication can be quite passive. The speaker does not have to relate to the audience or engage personally with the listeners, and the listeners in turn do not have to engage with the speaker or the content.

As leaders, we cannot (and would not) want to compel involvement, but most people will accept the opportunity to contribute provided they believe the opportunity to be a real one. The most important groups to involve are those who already have leadership responsibility in the organisation, and these are often the hardest to involve.

Any wise leader will involve the leadership team in shaping decisions. Merely consigning them to a role of making a Go / No-Go decision on a fully developed proposal wastes an opportunity to include their experience at best – and at worst it will alienate them.

Other groups should also be involved, both for the good of the program and for the good of them as individuals.

Examples of involvement opportunities include:

  1. Educational workshops at the start of the programme to share the principles to be used.
  2. Programme launch.
  3. Proposal / solution development.
  4. Implementation planning.
  5. Specific implementation issues and tasks.

Any involvement opportunity should be well facilitated as this will ensure that the involvement opportunity is seen as genuine. A time of open questions is always essential at these events as it reinforces the value you place on involvement.

Conclusion

As a leader wanting to transition your organization to become a GGC, you have already decided that you want to build your organization around the value you place on your people. By following these 3 vital steps you will demonstrate this value in your transition process.

 

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