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Event Highlights | Rewiring the Ecosystem for Resilience: Q&A session with corporates

On 14th July, for the fourth and final webinar in our series on ‘Rewiring the Ecosystem for Resilience’, we were joined by corporates in a Q&A session to discuss the changing reporting landscape, evolving investor expectations, the importance of building trust, and how companies can ‘rewire for resilience’ in the future. The webinar also discussed the significance of Black Sun’s six principles of trust: purpose, culture, stakeholder engagement, cognitive diversity, responsible business, and transformation and long-term thinking.

Some pertinent points raised in our discussion with Ben Matthews, Group Company Secretary at BP Plc and Carla Bloom, Head of Investor Relations at Brewin Dolphin Plc:

Start with purpose: Our speakers agreed that all Six Principles of Trust outlined in Black Sun’s “Rewiring the Ecosystem for Resilience” research were important, but Carla highlighted that “purpose is the key. [When created correctly] it allows all stakeholders to clearly understand what a company wants to do within society.” Black Sun’s research on trends in FTSE 100 reporting finds that 88% of companies set out a purpose (compared to 72% in 2018) and the majority (83%) have a purpose that goes beyond creating shareholder value. Evidencing that this purpose is  linked through to strategy and performance, well understood and actively worked towards by the whole company, will be the key for disclosure going forward.

ESG is mainstream: Evidencing relevant ESG information can be a challenge, but our speakers reassured other corporates that the “G” of ESG has been part of business for years, the “E” has been raised up the Board agenda steadily and is being well addressed, it’s mainly the fact that COVID-19 has brought the “S” firmly into focus. As such, corporates  need to consider how they could be “reviewed on their performance” in years to come when investors and other stakeholders consider their reactions to COVID-19. The momentum is definitely moving in the right direction, with our research revealing an increase in Board and Executive accountability for ESG in the Annual Report. Specifically, CEOs and Chairs from 63 of the FTSE 100 companies address the organisation’s commitment to sustainability in their letters/statements, up from 50 companies in 2018.

Need for leadership commitment: When attempting to drive meaningful change, for example ingraining ESG or sustainability disclosure, it’s important to ensure Board or executive buy-in. Carla emphasized that genuine progress cannot be made without leadership support, and Ben explained that there has not been a better time to get that involvement; “Where we are today is a great platform for change – there is no more evidence needed to prove climate change exists, but rather corporates need to prove that they can change themselves to address climate change and be part of the solution.”

Watch the webinar

For more information, please contact our Senior Business Developer Naomi Hawkins.

 

Black Sun is a stakeholder communications company. We help businesses to communicate authentically how they deliver value to inspire, engage and influence their important stakeholders. We believe that inspiring strategic communications can spark positive change and drive long-term, sustainable performance. We want to work with companies who want to build better businesses through better communications.