How Virtual Events Provide ESG Value
30 September 2020
By Amy Statham
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) was already rising as a critical objective for IROs before COVID-19 took hold of the world. While only 27% of investors were making “frequent” use of nonfinancial performance in 2016, 91% of investors recently surveyed by EY say that non-financial performance has played a pivotal role in their investment decision-making over the past 12 months. In the new landscape of a post-COVID-19 world with restricted travel and office access, virtual events have become the best option for communicating and affirming ESG initiatives and updates.
Leveraging for Virtual Events for ESG
As many essential investor relations events have shifted to virtual, ESG should be no different. Investors ranked ESG as the biggest challenge for IR teams through 2019 and 2020, with the topic continuing to accelerate as a result of COVID-19. Using virtual events to amplify your ESG initiatives can play a significant role in better communication with your investment community and in effect, make ESG less of a challenge for IROs. it also lessens your carbon footprint and allows you and your team to communicate with your investor community globally without concern of travel logistics and cost.
Improving Real-Time Communication with the Investor Community
The elimination of travel also allows for real-time communication, meaning your investor community no longer has to wait for in-person meetings to receive important updates. Why does this matter? In a recent survey by EY, 41% of those surveyed stated the lack of real-time information is one of the top five challenges to achieve usefulness and effectiveness of ESG reporting. Virtual events allow for real-time communication with investors, and as Conor Murtagh, Director of Strategy and IR at Glenveagh stated, “While you might be doing the right things internally from a governance or risk-management strategy perspective, as far as ESG is concerned, it’s very important that you’re communicating it in a clear way to investors.” By setting up a short call or virtual event that is succinct and to the point, you can help to improve investor communication and ensure effective ESG reporting.
Utilizing Virtual Events Internally
With many, if not most, companies working remotely, internal communication has never been more critical. Leveraging virtual event tools to deliver key messages, communicate regularly, or even upskill and train new employees is imperative. Especially if you’re a multinational organization that previously relied on travel for meetings and training, it’s essential to lean on technology to provide a solution for these logistical challenges.
What’s more, virtual events can extend past communicating essential information or employee training, virtual conferences, and award ceremonies have been on the rise since COVID-19, and many have been executed successfully. Before you cancel a conference or other event that would have been in-person, consider taking the event online and leveraging a virtual events provider to handle the heavy lifting. This not only keeps you on-track with employee growth and success but once again, keeps your unnecessary travel and carbon footprint to a minimum.
Using the Right Technology for Success
While considering virtual events for ESG communication may seem like another item on an already long laundry list for IROs, the right tools can help lighten the lift and create a smooth experience for IR teams. For starters, S&P Global’s Trucost assesses risks relating to climate change, natural resource constraints, and broader environmental, social, and governance factors. They offer various robust ESG services ranging from carbon and natural capital investment metrics, portfolio environmental analytics, verification of green bonds, and more. The other component of setting yourself up for success with your ESG strategy in these times is finding a partner for virtual events and webcasting. The right provider can alleviate the bulk of a virtual event by ensuring you and your team are set up for success. Whether it’s asking questions about the space you’re calling from, ensuring a stable connection or other technology requirements that you hadn’t considered, a trusted provider will ultimately save you time and, most importantly, a stressful call.
With the current state of the world only amplifying the importance of ESG, it has never been more critical for you and your IR team to effectively be communicating with your investor community. Whether it’s having a real-time communication, leveraging virtual events internally, or turning in-person events into virtual ones, the importance of going virtual should not be overlooked. To learn more about virtual events and current industry best practices, download our Virtual Events Guide here.