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Is adversity forcing us to rethink the purpose of business?

Climate change and ESG dominated the business agenda in the past 12 months.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, however, the focus has changed and many businesses have simply turned back to survival mode. 

Does the Covid-19 crisis provide a new landscape where the social role of business will become an integral part of its purpose? Or will the expected economic slowdown force organisations to return to business as usual?

Join us for a virtual panel discussion with Silvia Pavoni, Economics Editor at The Banker, and Professor Joe DiVanna, to debate these and other questions and understand what the ESG agenda means for your business and your people.

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Meet our Guest

Prof. Joe DiVanna

Affiliated to the University of Cambridge, Prof DiVanna is an expert in finance, management and strategy.

Joe is the Managing Director of Maris Strategies Limited, a Cambridge innovation research and advisory think-tank for global organisations, where he assesses the economic and social implications of financial products and services for clients by employing industry expertise to review their positions in the market and to adjust their strategies.

Acknowledged for his thought-leadership in banking, economics, human capital management, emerging markets and Islamic finance with over 30 years’ experience,  Professor Joe has developed the strategy for numerous banks, technology companies and his seminars and keynotes have inspired thousands around the world.

Joe DiVanna is also a prolific author with numerous publications and contributions to global and regional publications in The BankerFinancial WorldFTNew HorizonsFinWeek, Malta Business WeeklyIslamic Business and Finance, and Middle East Banker.

Learn more about Prof. Joe DiVanna
Silvia Pavoni, economics editor of The Banker, Financial Times Group.
Meet our Guest

Silvia Pavoni

Silvia is the economics editor of The Banker, a monthly publication part of the Financial Times Group.

Since joining the Financial Times in 2005, she has been on assignment to over two dozen countries, reporting with both written and filmed pieces.

Silvia regularly interviews government officials, policy makers and finance professionals at the highest level and has chaired numerous conferences and panel discussions on finance, trade and economic development. Silvia writes on several topics ranging from international trade agreements, sovereign debt crises, energy and infrastructure finance and financial technology.

She’s also the founding editor of Sustainable Views, a newsletter by FT Specialist, a division of the Financial Times, that brings the voices and the data driving the ESG (environmental, social and governance) debate .

Learn more about Silvia Pavoni

In this Episode

How important is the role of banks to ESG? What really this capacity has done is perhaps highlighted the importance of the G in ESG - Governance. When looking at banks and financial services, that governance element is always kind of considered as being dealt with already by the compliance function. A lot of it had to do with making sure that the banks, of course, didn't break any laws that were in compliance in terms of anti-money laundering, regulation, and so on. (...) The role that some banks play, perhaps even more so now, is we may want to consider them as utilities because they are essential in the running of the economy.
What should the companies consider as they start rethinking their ESG approach? The real challenge will be for traditional leaders to kind of rethink how they engage the organization to change from being a control point which most leaders tend to be, to becoming a resource and be consumed by the organization. So pushing decisions down into the organization, and only letting the exceptions come up to the leader is one thing that is going to really change.
When we look at the ESG agenda, we've taken sustainability being: Will the planet be here long term? Will my business be here in the future? Will I be sustainable? Will my activities be sustainable long-term? And now suddenly, sustainability has been internalized. Prof. Joe DiVanna
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