31 March 2022: Members of our FIC community, subscribers to The European Family Investment Company Report – FIC owners and senior executives – plus selected invited guests and experts, including heads of family business associations, from eleven countries met online for the 8th EFIC Virtual Conversation.
Topic: ESG and Sustainability
Discussion was led by our guest speakers, the family member CEO of a multi-generational, multi-billion Euro asset listed FIC, and his colleague in charge of Sustainability.
Setting the scene
Early ESG & Sustainability (ESG & S) data from The European Family Investment Company Report: Second Edition was presented. The guest speakers introduced their FIC and its approach to ESG & S.
Topics debated by attendees
First: ‘How can you collect ESG and Sustainability data, set targets and measure performance?
Second: ‘How can you develop an ESG and Sustainability culture?’
Third: ‘How do you balance short-term investment goals with long-term ESG and Sustainability objectives?’
Before discussion on each topic was opened, attendees participated in a number of polls.
Based on discussion during the Virtual Conversation, when attendees shared their experience and ‘war stories’, we distilled and distributed over 35 practical Takeaways from their insights. Out of these our Standout Takeaways are:
- Recognisable language and criteria are useful in ESG & S target setting, measurement and communication.
- Concept of responsibility is an important driver for FIC response to ESG & S.
- Definitions are less important than understanding, measuring and managing.
- Before setting targets, solid measurement and reporting methods/systems must be in place.
- Importance of open reporting – show leadership by telling stakeholders what is being done.
- The history and experience of the heritage business can provide exposure to ESG & S issues which help to propagate an ESG & S culture.
- A philanthropic entity is a great opportunity to educate and dialogue with NextGen about ESG & S culture.
- Must agree ESG & S definition with family and with management or neither will identify.
- Need to create value for future generations in a sustainable way.
- Is it a trade-off between financial and ESG & S objectives, or can you combine the two? If you are creative and innovative you can find a way.
- FICs have an edge in that they can rely on their values – the moral compass which allows them to take decisions, align with values, do the best they can do at any given moment.
After the ‘formal’ Virtual Conversation had closed we invited attendees to join the guest speakers and our team for a Virtual Coffee in the Cyber Foyer where discussion led by two FICs we had invited to speak about Ukraine. The first gave a presentation on the current situation in Poland and their work to help Ukrainian refugees there. The second shared how they are supporting their long-standing business interests in Ukraine and helping their Ukrainian colleagues. Other attendees spoke about their experience of Ukraine and what they are doing to support refugees.
We are communicating privately with our FIC Community about this discussion, sharing more details about the charities and NGOs who are helping victims of the war in Ukraine that are supported by attendees.
We wish everyone a happy and peaceful Easter, Passover and Ramadan.
NOTE: to enquire how to receive the full text of the Takeaways from this EFIC Virtual Conversation or how to join our community of Family Investment Companies please email: info @ deanbridgeinternational.com