The recent webinar hosted by Trialogue and BanQu brought together global and local experts in the field of sustainability to discuss the development and maturing of a sustainability roadmap for businesses. With mounting pressure from stakeholders to improve environmental, social, and governance (ESG) approaches and disclosures, the webinar provided an update on the reporting codes and standards landscape, highlighted the need for a purpose-led integrated thinking approach and examined the role of technology to support ESG efforts.
The panel consisted of global and local experts, including Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien from the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), Ashish Gadnis, CEO and co-founder of BanQu, and Charl Harding, CEO of Impact Catalyst. The webinar featured insights from the panellists, who provided valuable perspectives on refining ESG metrics, informing strategy, and fostering authentic communication. Additionally, the webinar emphasised the role of codes and standards development, integrated thinking, and Web 3.0 technology in enhancing ESG maturity.
How codes and standards developments will help deepen ESG maturity
The webinar emphasised the significance of evolving codes and standards in driving ESG maturity. Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien highlighted the importance of establishing globally recognised sustainability frameworks and reporting standards. Frameworks, like that of the IFRS Sustainability Standards, provide businesses with a common language to measure and compare their sustainability performance, enabling effective benchmarking and transparent disclosure. They also help businesses align their sustainability efforts with the broader sustainability agenda, allowing them to contribute to global initiatives such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By adhering to these standards, companies can instil confidence in stakeholders, attract investments, and demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices.
Moreover, the webinar discussed the need for codes and standards to evolve in response to emerging sustainability challenges. The webinar provided valuable insights on how codes and standards are being developed to address specific industry issues, such as carbon emissions, social impact, and responsible supply-chain management. The speakers stressed the importance of ensuring that these frameworks are adaptable, inclusive, and able to capture the evolving understanding of sustainability and its associated risks. The ongoing collaboration between standard-setting organisations, industry experts, and stakeholders was highlighted as crucial for the continuous improvement and relevance of codes and standards in driving ESG maturity. Participants were encouraged to add their voice and perspectives to the drafting of S1 (General requirements) and S2 (Climate) of the IFRS standards, before they are released.
How an integrated thinking approach will enable a realistic ESG roadmap to maturity
The discussion underscored the transformative potential of an integrated thinking approach in developing a realistic ESG roadmap. Integrated thinking encourages businesses to view sustainability as an integral part of their overall strategy, rather than a separate entity. By incorporating ESG factors into their decision-making processes, companies can align their long-term objectives with sustainable practices.
The webinar highlighted the benefits of integrated thinking, such as identifying risks and opportunities, strengthening resilience, and driving innovation. By considering the environmental and social impacts of their operations, companies can proactively mitigate risks associated with climate change, resource scarcity, and social inequality. This integrated thinking approach also allows businesses to identify new market opportunities and develop innovative products and services that meet the evolving needs of environmentally and socially conscious consumers.
Furthermore, integrated thinking fosters the integration of sustainability considerations across all levels and functions of a company. The webinar emphasised the importance of engaging employees, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders in sustainability initiatives. By involving stakeholders in the decision-making process, businesses can gain diverse perspectives and insights, fostering a sense of ownership and shared responsibility for sustainability outcomes. This holistic and purpose-led approach to ESG maturity not only benefits the environment and society but also enhances long term business value and reputation.
How Web 3.0 technology will enhance ESG maturity
The webinar explored the role of web 3.0 technology, including blockchain-based platforms like BanQu, in enhancing ESG maturity. Gadnis shed light on the potential of blockchain technology to drive transparency, traceability, and accountability in supply chains. By leveraging distributed ledger technology, companies can track and verify sustainability-related data, such as carbon emissions, responsible sourcing, and fair labour practices, throughout their supply chains. This transparent and immutable record-keeping system enhances credibility and trust, allowing businesses to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and combat greenwashing.
Web 3.0 technology also enables greater stakeholder engagement and participation in sustainability initiatives. Through digital platforms, companies can provide stakeholders with real-time access to relevant sustainability information, enabling them to make informed decisions and actively contribute to the ESG agenda. Digital product passports plays a crucial role in this context, allowing for the tagging and verification of sustainability-related data. By digitally tagging information, businesses can ensure its integrity, reliability, and interoperability, enhancing transparency and facilitating data sharing across platforms and systems. This enables improved ESG data management, traceability, and reporting, further enhancing ESG maturity efforts.
It was highlighted how blockchain-based platforms facilitate financial inclusion and empower marginalised communities by enabling them to establish verifiable identities and access financial services. This inclusive approach aligns with the broader goal of sustainable development and fosters a more equitable society.
The webinar provided valuable insights into developing a sustainable roadmap for businesses by leveraging codes and standards developments, adopting an integrated thinking approach, and harnessing web 3.0 technologies. Codes and standards play a crucial role in establishing a common framework for measuring and comparing sustainability performance, while an integrated thinking approach ensures the seamless integration of ESG factors into overall business strategy. Web 3.0 technology, including blockchain-based platforms and digital tagging, enhances transparency, traceability, stakeholder engagement, and data management, driving ESG maturity.
To further support companies in their sustainability journey, we encourage attendees to participate in the upcoming workshop organised by the ISSB and the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria. The workshop, scheduled for two days, will delve into the newly emerging Sustainability Standards set to be released in June. This event aims to help companies prepare for and implement these standards effectively. Attending the workshop will provide valuable insights and practical guidance on navigating the evolving sustainability landscape. We invite you to register for the workshop here. It is an excellent opportunity to engage with industry experts and gain a deeper understanding of the forthcoming standards.
By embracing these approaches discussed in the webinar and actively participating in workshops and events, businesses can refine their ESG metrics, inform their strategies, and communicate authentically. The journey towards ESG maturity requires ongoing collaboration, continuous improvement, and a commitment to purpose-led sustainable practices. The alignment of financial, social, environmental and governance objectives, allows businesses to create a positive impact, foster stakeholder trust, and secure a sustainable future for all.