The practice of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) principles is no longer just a buzzword – it has become a vital workplace strategy. Between 2018 and 2020, for example, investments in ESG strategies grew 42%, according to Nasdaq. Today, a third of assets under management is invested in ESG strategies.
For a while, many leaders associated ESG primarily with the issue of climate change. And while this does remain a pillar of ESG practices, an increasing number of people look to ESG for workers’ rights. An annual poll by the firm Just Capital found that treatment of workers was the No. 1 issue for Americans.
For Stanton Chase, ESG is a major priority and a double challenge, which is why I’m addressing this topic here in my monthly communique as International Chair of the global executive search and leadership assessment firm. On one side, we support our clients by bringing in ESG talent, and on the other are our own efforts in ESG. As an international human capital firm with over 70 offices worldwide, we strive to embrace and embody the core principles of an ESG practice. With these values in mind, the Stanton Chase board established the ESG Functional Practice Group in 2021.
Because of our structure, we take a two-tiered approach. We encourage various offices in their local initiatives of the various offices such as planting trees with each placement or doing charitable work and assignments. We have global initiatives where all of our member firms act as one — fewer global meetings and more calls, combined assignments, and cloud-driven technology solutions. We also focus on our own diversity goals, not only gender but cultural, sexual orientation, and heritage.
We have done this for our clients and the market at large to advise on how best to attract, assess, and appoint leaders to help them reach their corporate ESG targets.
Our Global Practice Leader for the ESG Practice is Flemming Riber, Managing Partner at Stanton Chase Nordics and based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Two of Flemming’s initial tasks were building regional ESG teams and appointing leaders, but equally important was advising Stanton Chase on our ESG strategy and thus beginning our journey.
“Over the past 10 years, Stanton Chase consultants already assisted and completed assignments within ESG – it was called Sustainability and D&I – so it was a pleasure to bring our expert colleagues into a new ESG format and proceed from here,”Flemming Riber, Global Practice Leader ESG
“Over the past 10 years, Stanton Chase consultants already assisted and completed assignments within ESG – it was called Sustainability and D&I – so it was a pleasure to bring our expert colleagues into a new ESG format and proceed from here,” said Flemming. “Trusted advisers on ESG in the boardroom, at the C-level and toward government are in high demand, and I am pleased that our global ESG Team are ready to assist.”
Stanton Chase Initiatives: Environment
Due to the pandemic, we’ve all discovered and adapted to new hybrid work methods, and many are able to thrive within these new parameters. Stanton Chase has always been a firm oriented toward environmental sustainability and, during the past two years, we’ve found that we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint. By minimizing if not eliminating all unnecessary travel, we have reduced our use of fossil fuels for driving and flying. In fact, after 65 biannual Global Partner Meetings, we will now have one per year. Another benefit to traveling less is that we can invest more time and energy in what matters most: engaging with our clients and candidates to help them reach their goals.
Additionally, our entire firm, including Partners, Consultants, Researchers, and support staff, works paper-free with a few exceptions that are later recycled. Working from home uses more electricity and natural gas, though these are offset with less travel, as noted above.
Stanton Chase Initiatives: Social
As a professional services firm specializing in executive search and leadership consulting, we are indeed in the “people business.” When I say people, I refer to human beings with equal rights defined in many documents and proclamations and codified in constitutions. I declare that we go above and beyond the minimum diversity targets. Stanton Chase is genuinely diverse, especially when reviewing our internal gender and culture population. Our clients recognize us as the market leader to help them achieve their diversity targets, and in some countries, this is now a legal requirement at the non-executive board level.
“Together with NASDAQ Board Solutions, Stanton Chase will assess true ‘Social’ competence. We then develop and implement an ESG leadership strategy based on the results,” explains Flemming. “A non-executive board can also engage NASDAQ Board Solutions to monitor governance and regulatory compliance. Stanton Chase is committed to the societal impact of our client companies.”
Stanton Chase Initiatives: Governance
Stanton Chase is led and run by the board, our Managing Partners, and our Regional and Practice Leaders. While every organization has its growing pains, we resolved those many years ago and are now a highly functioning firm. Any professional group must adopt a clear vision on its collective mission, standardize and implement best practices, and when appropriate, not be afraid to enforce rules that apply to all evenly.
“Transparency is key for our company, both for us to be clear on our own adherence to governance but also when representing our clients and the value proposition to new employees,” says Flemming. “There are companies over the years that we, as Stanton Chase, will not work with due to their lack of integrity and nonalignment with our core values. That’s right; we turn away business when it does not feel right. Common sense and good judgement are essential to being a respected executive search and leadership consulting firm, and trust me, we mean it.”
To find out more about how Stanton Chase can advise your company on ESG practices, please click here.
About the Author:
Jan-Bart Smits is the International Chair of Stanton Chase.