15 October, 2020
Yesterday marked the launch of the latest update for the Tortoise Media Responsibility 100 Index. It also saw the inaugural Tortoise Responsible Business Summit (if you missed either, check out the links to dig into the Index or watch the sessions from the Summit).
Although the Summit covered a whole range of different areas, one theme that came up across the day was the need for consistent and rigorous standards across environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues (a theme that ties into Tortoise’s R100 Index). Sometimes referred to as ‘non-financial’ data, a number of speakers were very clear that this data is actually very financial and is having an ever growing and defined impact on the bottom line.
With many different players now looking to see how their standard can become the global one (whether it is what the Big Four accountancy firms recently announced – more on this below) what Global Reporting Initiative and four other reporting standards organisations intend to do to work together to create comprehensive corporate reporting, or the work of the World Benchmarking Alliance is doing), the challenge is going to be how to avoid vested interests and make sure what we end up with is fit for purpose.
The call for standardised measurement is certainly an important, and welcome, one. Whilst we wouldn’t want to see companies solely being judged on generics, these standards have a role in raising the bar and levelling the playing field. And if these metrics lead to action on the issues that matter most, and those making progress are the ones that get our support (from more investors and tax relief, to better employees and more customers), our future may be looking up.
By David Laurie