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  • Writer's pictureGina Panayiotou

ESG: To be or not to be?

Criticism and cynicism is on the rise when it comes to ESG; from those who believe that it unachievable, too overcomplicated or just another buzzword for PR campaigns. 

I launched this LinkedIn newsletter to share my thoughts on why it is far from that and so much more, commencing a journey on building a World ESG Forum to help us get ESG right. It may be simpler than you think and more impactful than you imagine!

PR Campaign: So what?

Firstly, let's address the elephant in the room. So what if it is perceived as a PR driven initiative for some companies? If it encourages the adoption of ESG practises, whether the intention is to improve their reputation and standing among investors, employees and customers, or to create a better world, it's the outcome that matters. While genuine intent makes for the greatest impact, any step in the right direction is nonetheless a step in the right direction.

Overcomplicated: So are relationships...

Next, it's too complicated. So are relationships; Professional and personal, humans are complicated beings, should we drop them too? AI may be working towards that of course, yet if we dropped everything that was complicated and declared it obsolete and unachievable, we probably would not be where we are today and will probably not get where we need to get. 

ESG: So why does it matter anyway?

Some argue that the case for it is not convincing enough. In my previous life as a litigator, it was always the Claimant who had the burden of proof. When it comes to the claims of ESG not living up to expectations, a lot of research has been done on the positive impact of ESG on societies and businesses, since the first implementation of the term in 2009, yet none to the contrary. As this is the very first edition of this newsletter, I will not delve further into it, however if you are a fellow ESG enthusiast, curious, undecided or an ESG sceptic even, I invite you to follow this space as we unfold the story.

To be!

In concluding, last week I was invited to speak about ESG at the Seatrade Maritime Excellence Forum. In her final question, the moderator Laura Denne asked why does ESG matter to me. To be honest, I could list a hundred reasons from all three pillars of environmental, social and governance, but I chose to display the image pictured in the background below. The image is from a CNN news story, announcing the first elected Parliamentary member with Down syndrome; one of the things we would never see happening in the pre-ESG era. 

If ESG is the reason we are acknowledging the potential and power of inclusion, then that is enough to personally convince me why it matters. In light of that, if there even is a dilemma of "to be or not to be" when it comes to ESG, I'll always pick to be!

Hope you enjoyed this World ESG Forum's intro note and that you follow, like and subscribe to join our journey.

ps Happy to talk ESG for hours, so for any questions, thoughts, concerns feel free to DM me on LinkedIn.

*Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this newsletter are my own.

Laura Denne, Seatrade Maritime (left) in a fireside chat with Gina Panayiotou, West (right) at Seatrade Maritime Excellence Forum, London, January, 2024.

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