Better Business Webinar Roundup: “Demystifying ESG: What is it and why is it good for business?”

The EOA kicked off its Better Business webinar series with a fascinating discussion about Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and why this matters for the businesses’ long term success.

We heard from Andrew Ninian, of The Investment Association, Barry Murphy, from PwC and Kevin Matthews, CEO of Scott Bader. The webinar provided five key take-aways for businesses when considering ESG:

Purpose. it’s about defining what the business wants to achieve and what good it wants to contribute to society. Kevin Matthews described how as a chemical company with a significant environmental impact in the supply chain, the company set a long term strategic vision to define what good it wanted to contribute to society beyond its own bottom line.

Leadership. Building on purpose, Andrew Ninian pointed out that ESG must have leadership from the very top and be a strategic mission, not just an add on.

Risk and opportunity. The long term vitality of the business depended on recognising the ESG risks to your business. “If you’re not adapting to the world you’re in, you’ve no longer got a business,” as Kevin Matthew described it. Clients are asking searching questions as to how their money is being managed and the good their investments are creating.

Getting started. ESG is an issue for SMES as much as FTSE 100 companies, according to Barry Murphy, who advised small businesses to draw on their peer networks for advice and best practice. The important message was ‘get started’ – PwC have provided free tools and frameworks to help SMEs start their ESG journey which you can find at the bottom of this article.

Employees. Your colleagues are a vital stakeholder group and increasingly want to work for businesses who have strong ESG values and beliefs, which they also want to uphold and feel proud of as part of their work.  At Scott Bader, they actually add an additional E into ESG, and talk about EESG to recognise the employee.

The session is packed full of insights and practical advice, and is well worth your time listening or watching back on YouTube.


Be sure to register for our next session“The G in ESG: Why Governance Matters?” where we’ll be joined by expert guests Jonathan Geldart, Director General, Institute of Directors, Baroness Bowles of Berkhamsead and Member of the APPG Corporate Goverance as well as Barry Horner, Co-Founder, Paradigm Norton. We’ll be discussing how Good Governance embeds positive behaviours: creates internal checks and balances, helps businesses plan and deliver in the longer term, and improves control over management and information systems. Book your place here and join us on the 24th.


ESG Resources from PwC

A high level PwC report setting out a strategic framework for thinking about ESG, defining the components and some thoughts on how these can be brought to life by businesses:


‘Hopes and Fears’, our recent survey of employee views on the future, upskilling and importance of purpose in an employer:


PwC/Microsoft collaborative guide to embedding net zero in your business:


An article on the implications of Net Zero for the Finance Function:


A link to our Building Public Trust Award categories for 2021 – the private business tab under the sector awards section will be most relevant, and details the importance of purpose and articulation of societal impact in reporting.


A report on how to link ESG into executive pay (in collaboration with London Business School):