White & Case LLP has partnered with the Financial Times on the publication of its Moral Money Forum reports, which explore key issues from the ESG debate.
When should business take a stand?
Companies are under pressure to speak out on a wide range of issues. Doing so while avoiding pitfalls will require them to rethink their approach to politics.
The report "When should business take a stand?" explores how in recent years expectations on companies to engage in social and political debates have risen sharply, and that have exposed businesses to the risk of backlash from politicians, consumers and employees. Investors are also making new demands, but many are wary about chief executives weighing in on public controversies.
The decline in trust in democratic governments is putting pressure on companies to show that they are not undermining long-term political stability. This Moral Money Forum report in our partnership with the Financial Times discusses how companies would benefit from putting in place specific guidelines on corporate political engagement.
The third Moral Money Forum report in our partnership with the Financial Times, "Stakeholders incorporated", is out now. The report looks at the rise of alternative corporate forms such as the public benefit corporation (PBC), which sees companies balancing shareholders' financial interests with the interests of employees, customers and the environment.
The rise of the PBC has been a striking phenomenon, but such alternative structures are still exceptions to the rule, and many people in business and investment remain confused about their exact meaning.
The third report in the Moral Money Forum series cuts through the complexities and illuminates a trend that looks likely to become more important to all of us, whether we are acting as an investor or consumer.
Measuring what matters
The proliferation of ESG metrics and reporting frameworks in recent years has left executives and investors complaining about the difficulty of keeping up with so many apparently clashing standards – or even remembering what the different acronyms stand for.
The second report in the series, "Measuring what matters", asks whether current ESG reporting frameworks are truly measuring companies’ impact on people or the planet. With stakeholder capitalism forcing companies to adjust their single-minded focus on investors, things have become more complicated. How should we assess a company’s social and environmental impact? And with most investors having accepted that environmental, social and governance factors affect their returns, what data should they be demanding?
Long-term view in a short-term world
The inaugural report, "Long-term view in a short-term world", addresses the increasing focus on long-term sustainability for businesses.
The human and financial pressures COVID-19 has imposed mean that business and investment leaders have rarely been more aware of the potential trade-offs in trying to look beyond their next quarterly performance statement. And yet, there has also rarely been more momentum behind efforts to make business and investment more long-term focused.
This report focuses not just on the case for looking to a further horizon, but on the practical ways in which some long-term leaders are showing it can be done.
› Access the full report here
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