ESG – Environmental, Social, Governance – remains front-page business news. Organizations around the world and across industries are challenged to define, implement, and report on ESG. The pressures are coming from all directions: investors, customers, employees, regulators, and activists. The reality is that ESG has teeth, and organizations have to do something about it.
Previous iterations of ESG were Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability. These were often passed around the organization like a hot potato and often landed in the lap of marketing as a branding exercise. This is not the case with ESG; the risk exposure to the organization is too great. The goal is to be an organization of integrity to ensure that the values, ethics, statements, commitments, relationships, and transactions are a reality in practice, process, relationships, and transactions.
However, understanding ESG is complex. What I see happening in organizations reminds me of the parable of the blind men and the elephant. One blind man touches the tail and thinks it is a rope, another touches the body and feels a wall, and another touches a leg and says it is a tree. The same is happening with ESG as different functions/departments see what impacts them. Some focus on the E for the environment and think that is the most important since it leads the acronym ESG. Others are focused on the S, and others the G. All three are critical, and intersect with each other.
There is no single global standard for ESG. There is some reporting guidance, and the most popular is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and what is now the Value Reporting Foundation (the merger of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)). Nothing is complete; they each have their different perspectives. The organization is left to develop a strategy and process that delivers what they need to report to their respective/interested stakeholder groups.
This GRC Red Flag Series will explore the role of GRC in delivering and automating ESG reporting and accountability in the organization. Organizations need structured guidance on how to deliver on ESG strategy and processes across the diverse areas of ESG.
In our interview and panel discussion, attendees of this GRC Red Flag Series will learn about:
Panel Discussion with special guests
GRC in the News
ESG Practice Lead, Archer
Peadar Duffy is Archer’s Global ESG Practice Lead, and is responsible for leveraging his thought leadership in the organizational risk and governance domains to provide strategic direction and collaboration across Archer’s internal and external partners in the design and development of Archer’s ESG solutions. He currently represents Ireland on the ISO technical committees for Risk Management (TC 262) and the Governance of Organisations (TC 309) where he is involved in the development and revision of various guidelines, reports and technical specifications.
Most recently Mr. Duffy had been involved with other international experts in the development of the first global governance guideline which emphasizes organizational purpose and other ESG-sustainability principles underpinning performance and long-term viability. Mr. Duffy began his 25-year career in risk management spanning multiple industry sectors in Ireland, the US and Middle East following 15 years in the Irish military.
Mike has over 35 years of experience in the risk management and insurance industry serving a broad range of clients by size and business sector. Mike cares passionately about making a difference to people, businesses and communities and has been a long time supporter of The Princes Trust and Business in the Community (BITC).
Mike is a board advisor, business consultant, non executive director and experienced executive coach to a broad range of businesses and organisations in diverse sectors, size and maturity from Start Ups, PE Backed, Family and Corporates. Sectors include Food and Beveridge, Retail, Construction, Risk Management, Cyber, Wellbeing, Renewables, Waste, Technology and Social Housing.
He was previously Chairman of BITC, Scotland which is a business-led charity where members work together to tackle a wide range of issues that are essential to a sustainable and responsible future. As part of this Mike was Chairman of the Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG), a leadership group of BITC, which is an initiative established by HRH The Prince of Wales to help businesses and communities across the UK become more resilient, supporting them to prepare, respond better and recover faster from crisis. Members across business, government bodies and charities, collaborate and take action to help tackle some of the key issues facing society. Mike was appointed the prestigious role of HRH The Prince of Wales Ambassador for Responsible Business in Scotland from June 2015 to 2017.
In addition he has provided leadership and support as chairman of the global MD/CEO network YPO, in Scotland (2013/2016 & 2018/2020) to support better leaders through learning and ideas exchange and chairs the annual Scottish Business School for members utilising world class resources including LBS and Harvard to support life long learning.
Mike has enabled many organisations he supports to flourish. Using his professional skills, extensive networks and personal commitment, he engages others and promotes and demonstrates collaborative working to understand and manage risk to make them more resilient and successful.
Vice President & Chief Risk Officer, FirstEnergy
Soubhagya Parija is currently the vice President and chief risk officer at FirstEnergy, one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.
Soubhagya has decades of risk, compliance, and governance experience and is a former board member of the Risk & Insurance Management Society (RIMS), a global risk management organization. He also served as senior vice president and chief risk officer at the New York Power Authority, the nation’s largest state-owned utility from 2015-2021 where he successfully ran enterprise risk, operational risk, risk analytics and insurance programs.
Previously, Soubhagya served as director, risk strategy for Walmart, where he built and implemented an enterprise-wide regulatory compliance risk management program for the company’s international division. He also was director, enterprise risk, at Akron, Ohio-based Signet Jewelers, the world’s largest specialty jewelry retailer, where he designed and built an enterprise-risk management program from the ground up. At Duke Energy, he served as director, enterprise risk and portfolio analysis, working his way up after being recruited as a management trainee.
Soubhagya graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru University in India with a master’s degree in Economics. He received his Master of Business Administration and Finance from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. More recently, Soubhagya completed Harvard Business Analytics Program at Harvard University.
Soubhagya enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with students trying to build a career in risk management. He is currently teaching Enterprise Risk Management at Columbia University as a part-time lecturer.