Standardizing the Global ESG Movement
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices are not just smart business, they are an essential part of long-term success. But across industries and sectors, there is a lack of standardization and common metrics. Here’s how BCIU leveraged its access and credibility to drive common standards in the ESG movement.
A Changing Landscape
We’ve entered a time of intense focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Today, pressure is increasing upon companies to demonstrate ESG adherence in order to attract institutional investors and meet this growing global movement. However, standardization in ESG is fragmented and not all companies share the same goals. Henry Schein, a global distributor of health care products, services, and solutions with a presence in 32 countries, wanted to help support standardization within and across stakeholders engaging in ESG activities, and to display its evolving commitment to ESG over the past decades, even before the buzzword “ESG” ever came into play.
For us, D&I, Sustainability, and ESG, are terms popularized in the last few years, but have really been part of our culture since the doors of the business were opened 88 years ago.
- Stan Bergman, Chairman and CEO, Henry Schein
When Opportunity Meets Strategy
BCIU’s forum – ESG Investing: Standardized Ratings that Drive Results – started with a phone call. The CEO of Henry Schein expressed interest in elevating the issue with BCIU as a partner. As strategic advisors, BCIU worked with the Henry Schein team to identify panelists and the ideal audience composition to maximize the benefits of a discussion on standardizing ESG practices. Taking the perspective of institutional investors, BCIU recruited speakers comprised of the biggest names in finance, including the head of Kuwait’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and the CEO of S&P Global, who provided useful and timely perspectives on real ESG metrics. This unique, “must attend” gathering brought in CEO’s and Chief Sustainability Officers from leading global institutional investors and companies, all with significant stakes in creating a global standard for ESG evaluation.
According to S&P Global’s Trucost, almost 60% of the companies in the S&P 500 have at least one asset at high risk of physical climate change impacts.
Due to BCIU’s unique position of access and credibility, the convening included top-tier perspectives from some of the largest sovereign wealth funds, large institutional banks, global governments, and big names in ESG and the Fortune 500. Participating organizations included: CPP Investments, KKR, EY, Henry Schein, Blackstone, UNDP, Bloomberg, S&P Global, Morgan Stanley, Citi, KIA.
The forum ultimately had a wide impact. It showcased participating companies as thought leaders in the global development of universally accepted metrics for real ESG impact. It introduced new and exciting best practices that business leaders could bring back to their companies. And it served to position participating speakers in front of targeted institutional investors, companies, governments, and the media, helping to enhance the development of a wider ESG ecosystem.
Lacking an established standard rating and evaluation system for ESG investments, BCIU set out to provide a platform for global leaders to share what metrics they prioritize to jump-start the potential development of such benchmarks.
- Max Horwitz, Director, International Development, BCIU