Environmental, Social & Governance performance – an urgent imperative for the post-Covid-19 re-design of non-profit organisations

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

This (virtual) breakfast Dialogue session will be moderated by Manny Amadi, C&E CEO and co-led by Ruth Davison, CEO of Comic Relief, non-exec director of Greenpeace UK and past senior leader across several UK and internationally-focused social and environmental NGOs*, and Dax Lovegrove, Global Sustainability Lead at Swarovski and Trustee at Earthwatch**.

Session topic

The Covid-19 disruption is accelerating underlying trends, including, increasing calls for inclusive growth; diversity & equity in access to and use of products and services; social accountability; ethical and sustainable consumption; and environmental sustainability. Urgent responses from institutional (non-profit organisations, companies, government) and non-institutional actors (individuals, households, and communities) have reinforced the fact that no one actor has a monopoly on doing good. And that service users, consumers, employees, and society have higher expectations of service providers - whichever sector they hail from. These expectations increasingly extend to the ethical, social, environmental credentials and performance of non-profits. 

In a world in which “trust us because ours is a good cause” is unlikely to meet stakeholder expectation, there is an imperative to think holistically about the importance of the ESG agenda for the evolution of NGOs. It may no longer be sufficient for non-profits to define themselves in narrow “social” or “environmental” swim lanes when these issues increasingly flow in a common pool. As non-profits begin to plan for a post-Covid future, re-imagine their theories of change and build new business models, this session will explore and address:

  • Why is the ESG agenda an important input as NGO leaders look to “build back better” post Covid-19?
  • What are the key considerations for success in the journey to building and implementing a coherent ESG narrative and plan for non-profit organisations? And,
  • What can the corporate and non-profit sectors learn from each other in their respective pursuit of “purpose” and “mission”?  

About the series:

C&E’s Breakfast Dialogue series are free, by invitation, informal discussions held over a light breakfast and involving a dozen or so senior participants from corporate, NGO and public sector backgrounds. They are highly interactive, informed, co-learning discussions in which participants share their perspectives, experiences and insights - under Chatham House Rules. (Participants for this cross-sector discussion are encouraged to bring their own croissant, coffees and teas to this Zoom session!)

*Ruth is Chief Executive at Comic Relief where she is responsible for the organisation’s strategy, global philanthropic portfolio, and fundraising. She has worked in a range of senior roles in the voluntary sector for over 15 years, leading strategic and cultural change at some of the UK’s best-known charities, including Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth and Crisis. Ruth also helped launch the Canal & River Trust, the UK’s largest ever start up charity. A life-long activist, Ruth serves on the Board of Greenpeace UK. She is also a judge of both the UK Charity Awards and the GSK Impact Awards.

**Dax is the Global Sustainability Lead at Swarovski. He has worked in corporate sustainability for nearly 20 years working across NGO and private sectors. Previously, he was Director of Sustainability & Innovation at Kingfisher plc where he worked on all things ‘net positive’ and innovative. Prior to that, Dax supported WWF’s international work with business for over a decade, developing the organisation's strategy for engaging with business & industry to win support for conservation and for shifts towards a green economy.