On 16 December 2015 AVPN and AVPN member Oxfam hosted a roundtable discussion on corporate engagement on environmental, social and governance issues. The day’s event welcomed feature presentations by Oscar Haq, Regional Financial Advisor at Oxfam, and Guiseppe van der Helm, President of The Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO), accompanied by an interactive group discussion among audience participants.
Oxfam and VBDO are currently creating an international network of platforms in emerging markets, on which sustainable investors and civil society organizations can work together to advocate and to drive measureable change for companies’ ESG policies.
The roundtable focused on this joint collaboration as well as sustainable and responsible investing experiences in the Netherlands. Guiseppe outlined the sustainable approaches and responsible investment strategies that corporations and individual investors should be aware of when considering ESG issues. Companies owe it to themselves to follow sustainable investing practices to facilitate reputation management, mitigate risk, and improve efficiency, among other benefits he says. Doing this, in turn, will increase long-term profitability, create value and improve trust among shareholders.
Giuseppe and Oscar’s insights inspired several discussion points. Audience members were not hesitant to raise pending questions and observations regarding the topic. Cheryl Chen, Head of Corporate Citizenship at Citi Bank, mentioned the ESG landscape in Asia and pondered the continent’s progress. Alternatively, Sue Spencer, Deputy Director of Corporate Giving at NVPC, questioned how investors could effectively measure their investment’s impact at a community level. Irina Francken, Director at Asia Philanthropy Partners, continued the thought exchange by delving into the more granular details and expressed her interest in learning more about the cross-border structures involved in sustainable investing.
The roundtable explored the discussion points raised, leaving participants better versed in ESG issues, shareholder engagement in emerging markets, and the future surrounding these topics.