Targeting, Corporate Access or Sell-Side Research: What Did We Talk About Before ESG?

IR workload has been profoundly changed by the rise of ESG 29 February 2024 Targeting, Corporate Access or Sell-Side Research: What Did We Talk About Before ESG?

Garnet Roach of IR Magazine pens an article questioning the dominance of “ESG” in IR agendas, with input by Marine Esperandieu (a Director at SquareWell Partners).

In recent years, “ESG” has become a focal point, with IR Magazine reporting that three-quarters of its cover stories in 2021 revolved around ESG. This surge in attention contrasts starkly with previous years, where topics like Covid-19, shareholder engagement, and stock exchanges dominated discussions. Despite this shift, IR professionals face a disconnect between the growing ESG workload and investor interest.

Research indicates that while 35 percent of IR professionals now handle ESG duties, only a fraction view ESG as a key challenge, with macroeconomics taking precedence. Affryll Teo, head of IR, sustainability, and M&A at Tune Protect, emphasizes the increasing burden of ESG responsibilities on IR professionals, leading to a potential separation of roles in the future.

Marine Esperandieu underscores the escalating workload related to managing ESG frameworks and regulations, urging companies to prioritize efforts based on their impact and strategic relevance. She warns of the distraction posed by excessive focus on reporting and compliance, diverting attention from actual performance and impact. Recent departures from Climate Action 100+ by major investors signal a nuanced recalibration in “ESG” priorities amid a shifting socio-political climate.

Marine Esperandieu advocates for a renewed focus on governance within the “ESG” framework, emphasizing its fundamental role in long-term sustainability. She calls for boards to enhance transparency and engagement to build trust with investors, asserting that governance merits separate consideration from “ESG” due to its nuanced nature.

As the IR landscape evolves, navigating the complexities of ESG while maintaining focus on core functions remains paramount for effective investor engagement and sustainable growth.

The full article can be accessed here.


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