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23 August 2017

What are the challenges in assessing ESG risk?

Ted Datta

We recently made five short compliance-related videos featuring speakers from our AML4 and sanctions forum.

In the first video, Alexandra Mihailescu Cichon – head of sales and marketing with our partner RepRisk – starts by citing three crucial trends that have catapulted ESG issues to the forefront of public awareness and onto the radars of compliance professionals across every sector and multiple borders:

  • The first is the increasing importance of transparency.
  • The second involves the growing public awareness of and corporate sensitivity towards ESG topics.
  • And the third is, as Alexandra puts it, the “movement of ESG issues from soft law to hard law, so the fact that what started off in the last couple of decades with a lot of voluntary initiatives, principle-based frameworks is now moving into law and regulation.”

Perhaps in reference to a social-media-fuelled environment that sees companies face assaults on their reputations that can instantly gel into hardened public perception, Alexandra talks about how, increasingly, businesses need to offer specific responses to meet the particular challenges that affect their industries or regions. She points to “a broadening in the evolution of ESG topics from looking at a company’s own operations to looking at its clients, its business partners, its suppliers, and now even looking further down the line into its investments. That means that you have to know where your activities are and where the pockets of risk are, and I think that’s a challenge.”

In order to meet this challenge effectively, Alexandra explains the vital role access to data plays -- the sorts of rich, structured ESG data that Orbis provides, through RepRisk. She says, “I think there’s this idea that if you don’t know, you cannot act, so you need information to make good decisions …” And, indeed, the right information at the right time could make all the difference in helping you to effectively deal with ESG risk and, in the process, protect your company’s good name.

We’ll publish commentaries of the other videos here over the next couple of weeks.

Ted Datta

Ted Datta, Director of GRC Solutions

Ted helps organisations streamline their due diligence, onboarding and risk management processes. He is a regular contributor to Europe’s leading compliance
and financial crime forums.

Ted helps organisations streamline their due diligence, onboarding and risk management processes. He is a regular contributor to Europe’s leading compliance
and financial crime forums.

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