Putting the ‘S’ in ESG

Margot Slattery

The latest episode of the Better Boards Podcast Series focuses on ‘Putting the S in ESG’. In this episode, Margot Slattery, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at ISS A/S, shares her views on ‘social responsibility’ with Dr Sabine Dembkowski.

Margot Slattery

ESG is a hot topic, with a rising tide of investors, communities and talent caring more about the issues that surround it. With an increasing focus on social responsibility, it is no longer surprising to see ESG feature more prominently on boardroom agendas.

Born in Ireland, Margot was one of the key contributors to the country’s Same-sex Marriage Act, particularly in the business sphere. Before her current role with ISS, she was Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Sodexo.

Some of the key takeaways of the episode include:

“The ‘S’ is very real, and it won’t go away”. 

The ‘S’, seen as social responsibility, has evolved over the last few years from a box-ticking exercise to an important part of organisational strategy. Investors, communities, and workforces are placing greater importance on ESG issues when making decisions regarding organisations. Because of this, Chairs and CEOs must now ensure that these issues are a part of the strategic agenda for the organisations they lead.

“Think of the health of your organisation”. 

The issues impacted by the ‘S’ of ESG can often be tied to the health and wellness of an organisation. This in turn can impact the view investors have when considering an organisation. By using ‘S’ as a measure of organisational wellness, the board can develop a benchmark for how socially healthy their organisation is, both in actual and perceived terms.

“The ‘S’ really encourages innovation”. 

The ‘S’ goes beyond Diversity and Inclusion, which means it can have a wider impact on innovation. By anchoring the future in the issues of ‘S’, an organisation can be at the forefront of evolution by maximising its access to a wider range of viewpoints and experiences.

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