A lot is happening in ESG space today. Climate change, inclusive growth, and transmission towards a sustainable economy have emerged as major issues globally. Industry and other stakeholders are seeking greater accountability from corporates nowadays. The pandemic has further brought in the greater push to the movement of ESG and has given a boost to sustainable investing.
An increasing focus on sustainability issues is also being reflected in the total assets in the sustainable funds globally. There is an increase in sustainability funds during the pandemic. MSMEs should prioritize ESGs for a successful growth trajectory, mentioned Ms. Surabhi Gupta, General Manager – CMD & CFD, SEBI in a webinar organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) on ESG- Environmental, Social and Governance, The New Agenda of Corporate India.
Ms. Surabhi Gupta opined that the people who are driving these investments in ESG are investors, the government, and regulators. SEBI has initiated many initiatives to ensure ESG in companies.
They have recently announced a new requirement of sustainability reporting called business response and sustainability report during the pandemic. It emphasizes quantifying a matrix that allows easy measurement and comparability. Social and climate issues have been prioritized before.
Talking about the expectations from the company board, she mentioned that the companies’ board is under increasing pressure from society to be mindful of the environment and its social impact. The company needs to be mindful about accessing the ESG risk so that they work in the interest of the company growth and environmental sustainability for long-term growth.
Dr. Niraj Gupta, Head – Corporate Governance & Public Policy, IICA discussed the Role of Corporate Boards in Investing in ESG and Rethinking Value Creation where he emphasized the need to revisit the corporate purpose in brand-building value chain.
Mr. N Sivaraman, Managing Director & Group CEO, ICRA Limited presented about How ESG Factors Affect Credit Rating and the Cost of Capital. He discussed the key trends expected to shape the industry which included data that will form the foundation of decision making; technology is the key; innovative climate finance mechanisms will emerge; environmental consensus and net-zero and social resilience.
He emphasized that capital markets would warrant enhanced disclosures to support ESG based decision-making on the back of increased investor demands. Corporations would need to sharply increase their focus on ESG risks to better integrate into the evolving global economy.
Mr. Naveen Unni, Managing Partner, and Mr. Divy Malik, Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company discussed why and how Companies (both small and big) are integrating ESG in their Business decisions. They deliberated about the global and Indian context on de-carbonization; actions being taken by the major companies and the potential role of MSMEs.
Mr. Sudipto Saha Ray, Head – Operations, Joyville Shapoorji Housing Pvt Ltd while giving an overview about Joyville Shapoorji Housing Pvt Ltd discussed the challenges faced by the construction industry in which he emphasized the need for reform with support from the government to reduce compliance burden and ease of implementation.
Ms. Ranjana Agarwal, Co-Chair, Corporate Affairs Committee, PHDCCI while moderating the session deliberated about the importance of ESG in the corporate arena that will help to long-term value and sustainability.
Mr. Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary-General, PHDCCI deliberated about the impact of the pandemic on the economy and business and the strong corporate governance that has helped in bouncing back of business quickly. Day by day India is moving up the ladder of ease of doing business and new reforms and initiatives are being taken to ensure that India moves towards Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
Corporates need to contribute to community resilience, economic disruptions to sustainable intervention that help to elevate poverty at the same time ensure the right development. ESG and CSR will act as meaningful tools to engage in meaningful conversations with stakeholders to create value.
The webinar was moderated by Mr. Vivek Seigell, Assistant Secretary-General, PHDCCI, and was attended by many industry stalwarts across the nation.
PHDCCI’s webinar was supported by DLF India; Multani Pharmaceuticals; UFLEX; JK Tyre & Industries; Marble City; Paramount Cables; SMC Investments and Advisors; Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic; Comtech Interio; DCM Shriram Industries; Radico Khaitan; R.E. Rogers India; Ajit Industries; Synergy Environics; Continental Carriers PVT LTD; Timberworkz; Jindal Stainless; P S Bedi & Co; IFFCO and Hindware.