The recent AFR Business Summit took place during one of the most volatile weeks financial markets have experienced in a decade.
However, amid the talk about short term market disruption there were robust discussions about how businesses can move forward, invest for growth and prosper in the broader economic context, particularly if they truly focus on managing their risks relating to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.
“Environmental, social and governance considerations are very much a top priority for many Australian corporations today, with sustainability really being thought of as a core part of investing for growth,” Commonwealth Bank’s Group Executive for Institutional Banking & Markets Andrew Hinchliff told a breakfast panel on Day 2 of the Summit.
His was a sentiment echoed many times by speakers from several listed companies. They said ESG was not on the radar 15 years ago. But now the ESG specialists had a seat at the top table and those risks were factored into all company decisions. They emphasised that all of the equation needed to be taken into account – not just environmental but that social and governance risks were increasingly important.