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Setting The Agenda For Corporate Responsibility

 

One year on, Equiniti has stepped up its commitments to Corporate Responsibility.

Positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts have become a vital focus for businesses who want to do well. The will to change has to come from the heart of the company but there are compelling external reasons to do so.

Kate Prangnell, Equiniti’s Group Corporate Responsibility Manager, introduces the first in a three-part series, about businesses’ need for change and how Equiniti is changing for good. 

The tipping point for change

A report on sustainable financing by HSBC Holdings showed that clear ESG commitments resulted in a stronger brand reputation, financial returns, and shareholder engagement. Blackrock also predicts dedicated ESG funds will grow from $25 trillion to $400 trillion over the next decade.

The UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is an independent body, backed by the UN. It works to understand the investment implications of ESG factors and it supports its network of investor signatories to incorporate these factors into their investment and ownership decisions. The PRI now has 2300 signatories representing over $80 trillion under asset management. This shows the extent to which investors are now taking ESG factors seriously.

Regulation and reporting requirements are also on the increase. This is a trend that looks set to continue following the UK Government’s announcement to cut UK greenhouse gas emissions to nearly zero by 2050.

Across the globe, we are now seeing the real impacts of climate change: extreme weather, rising seas, soil degradation, food scarcity, loss of biodiversity, air pollution, ocean acidification – the evidence is in. We’re past the stage where the Boardroom can say the environmental impact is not a material issue for a business.

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Our need to change

 

Set against this landscape, and with increasing interest from clients and colleagues alike to see where we stood on the issues, Equiniti was compelled to explore its own impacts and gain a better understanding of where we needed to make changes, and where some of the opportunities lay.

In the past, Corporate Responsibility at Equiniti (or CSR as we were calling it then), tended to conjure up charities and fundraising in colleagues' minds. That needed to change. Corporate Responsibility is fundamentally about who we are as a business and the impact we have on the world. In a recent questionnaire, almost 80% of Equiniti colleagues told us it was important for them to work for a socially and environmentally responsible business.

As well as being important to colleagues, good Corporate Responsibility has a very real impact on the impression we are making in the marketplace, and both our clients and investors want to see that we’re taking it seriously. And we are taking things seriously.

Look out for part 2 of this series next week, “A year of corporate responsibility brings positive change to Equiniti”

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