The strategic communications division of NYSE-listed business advisory firm FTI Consulting strengthened its environment social governance (ESG) and sustainability practice with the official launch of the ESG Compass on August 5.
ESG Compass is a distinctive diagnostic tool that maps a company’s sustainability performance to mitigate reputational and business risk and identify new growth opportunities.
FTI says this proprietary diagnostic tool is a customised platform designed to support highly regulated companies across all sectors and geographies as they seek to drive engagement with key stakeholders, enhance their ESG-focused communications strategy and position the company for success.
ESG Compass provides a uniquely tailored approach for a company’s regional and sector footprint. The platform consolidates leadership performance data for each of the main ESG criteria relative to peers and best practices, providing insights and recommendations in relation to stakeholder expectations and public policy.
The approach draws upon hundreds of data points to provide a holistic, research-driven view that informs a company on its current programmes, policies and opportunities for growth. The quantitative data is supplemented by robust qualitative insights from FTI experts in relation to specific policy, stakeholder expectations, and corporate reputation to guide a company’s ESG strategy.
FTI senior adviser and ESG and sustainability specialist Martin Porter says the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted a shift in the way ESG is understood and put into practice by companies.
“If ESG concerns were in the past often interpreted as three separate issues, they are now seen as clearly inter-connected.”
He adds that engagement and communications around ESG issues is an essential element of successful corporate strategy, both for short-term resilience and longer-term sustainability.
“Our research shows any change must be rooted in performance data. The combination of insights from the ESG Compass and FTI’s team of experts provides a tailored overview, matching commitments against expectations and providing a roadmap for businesses as they execute on their ESG-focused communication strategy.”
Commenting on the launch of the ESG Compass in South Africa, FTI strategic communications global head Mark McCall says the company’s approach brings together its ESG experience in investor relations and financial communications with the depth of its regulatory and policy knowledge in key markets across the globe.
“The ESG Compass, in combination with our regional policy and capital markets expertise, offers clients a proven, distinct, and highly tailored approach to bolstering their ESG programme, safeguarding performance and reputation.”
He adds that combining this tool with FTI’s media, strategic positioning and corporate reputation capabilities, provides clients with a data-driven approach to enhancing their ESG strategy.
“This innovative approach helps clients address an agenda which is now central to all businesses. It can ensure risks are properly mitigated and opportunities are seized. Boards want short-term resilience, as well as longer-term sustainability and we aim to help them to deliver both.”
The expansion of this ongoing work within the South African market is a key differentiator for FTI as companies across the region face new pressures from a myriad of stakeholders, regulators, and investors alike.
FTI MD and South African ESG ambassador Caroline Parker says the current pandemic will be a further opportunity for change to drive the ESG and sustainability agenda in terms of new legislation and regulation, financial reporting, investor expectations, as well as more concrete compliance targets.
FTI’s ESG and sustainability practice will draw upon the firm’s significant strategic communications expertise in business, investment, policy and regulation to help clients navigate an agenda which is becoming increasingly important.
FTI’s '2020 Resilience Barometer C-suite' survey has reaffirmed the growing relevance of ESG and sustainability issues for companies.
Responses from a survey of 250 global institutional investors, undertaken as the Covid-19 crisis started to emerge, showed that 28% believe listed companies are under extreme pressure to improve their ESG credentials, and 88% agree that there should be more reporting on the actual impact of their activities.