Ganesh was joined by esteemed colleagues in the legal industry, including:
- David Chameli, Vice President and General Counsel at Heritage-Crystal Clean
- Allison Childs, Associate General Counsel at Par Pacific Holdings, Inc.
- Hansal Patel, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at The Timken Company
- Steve Secrist, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at Puget Sound Energy
As the discussion centred around the importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting, the panellists agreed that a strong approach is needed as ESG efforts are here to stay.
“The way organisations collect and report ESG data is changing rapidly to the point where we do not need just a document, but rather a series of reports dedicated to this process,” said Natarajan. “Reporting environmental data, social data and governance data are all different and complex, but together improve the working world for everyone.”
Making ESG an integral part of the business can be challenging, as outlined in a DWF Group report, made even more so by the lack of standards for ESG reporting. The panellists discussed this challenge, as well as nascent standards for reporting and how organizations can devise their own standards for collecting and reporting ESG data. Public companies in the United States are well-versed in reporting financial data to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with strict standards on how to report, but few standards exist for ESG.
“Tracking non-financial performance and reporting it to stakeholders is much different than in the past, where the main goal was to maximize shareholder performance,” said Natarajan. “Balancing profit and revenue growth, as well as improvements in non-financial aspects can be done, but it needs to have teeth. To verify conformance or non-conformance, we need to produce the right reports.”
Natarajan and the panel opened the discussion up to the audience, fielding a plethora of questions surrounding what exactly ESG is, organizations’ roles in it and how to improve ESG efforts at their own organizations.
“Trying to save the planet and make the workforce fairer for everyone is a humongous task for organizations, and one that requires standards of reporting to face stakeholder response,” said Natarajan. “If you pick and choose what you want to report, you kill the purpose of ESG.”
ESG reporting can be a challenge, especially for organizations just getting started. To learn more about ESG and how organizations can improve their reports using ALSPs, contact Ganesh Natarajan.