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Values over value

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Expert Opinion
April 20, 2020

Is 2020 to be the year that the purpose of business pivots to prioritise values over value? Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have been part of the business discussion for much of the past decade. It’s likely that the Covid-19 pandemic will further encourage action on these principles in the coming months due to how it is affecting both communities and the environment.

However, even before this outbreak, the past year or two has seen a discernible step change to the political and economic debate which looks set to change the rules that have been governing business and driving markets for well over a generation.

It’s led influential global business figures to question whether entire sectors such as energy or infrastructure, or companies which fail to engage fully with the ESG agenda face an existential threat to their entire business model.

The pledge from Blackrock CEO, Larry Fink to use the clout of the world’s largest asset manager to tackle global warming is a testament to the growing power of coupling investor activism with stakeholder concerns. The biggest business lobby in the USA has also signalled a new direction by embracing a sense of wider social purpose instead of the shareholder first mantra.

So, with pledges on sustainability and stakeholder concerns growing by the day, we brought together senior figures from the worlds of Procurement and Private Equity from the frontline of purchasing works, goods and services to discuss the progress and the pitfalls they’re encountering in driving the ESG agenda.

Ayming hosts Private Equity and CPO roundtable

A highly diverse group of in-house professionals and operating partners from the private equity industry gathered in Central London for what turned out to be a most convivial and informative evening. In a conversation which was frank and honest, we debated whether the soaring rhetoric of CEO’s and promises of a more sustainable tomorrow are running ahead of the pressures of delivering against financial targets.

Round the table were more than a dozen professionals from across a wide range of business sectors who all had one thing in common – Being held accountable for delivery. It was clear that maximising cost effectiveness remains the paramount concern for all those who participated in this debate. There was general agreement among all those taking part that public attitudes are indeed changing and having an impact.

Voices from the retail and transport sectors acknowledged they are witnessing a transformation in consumer perceptions and evidence of the public acceptance of the direct link between the cost of sustainable sourcing and the ultimate price to be paid for any product or service.

It’s a trend I’ve seen myself emerging from the consumer facing companies we work with here at Ayming. I believe that change of mindset has also been accompanied by Business making big improvements in the monitoring and reporting of ESG issues….

Please visit Spend Matters for the remainder of this article: Values over Value, Spend Matters, 1st April 2020