Content Assessment: The ESG Revolution: How a New Corporate Code is Reshaping Business
A short assessment of the qualitative benefit of the recent Relativity Fest 2023 panel discussion on ESG and its current and future impact on the business of eDiscovery.
Editor’s Note: Amid the growing corporate focus on ESG (environmental, social, governance), Relativity Fest provided vital insights for cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery leaders on this emerging shift.
In a pre-panel interview and expert panel discussion, legal tech experts traced ESG’s accelerating rise and offered strategic guidance for embedding it across operations. They emphasized ESG’s strategic benefits beyond risk management, from driving innovation to attracting top talent. Moderator Beth Kallet-Neuman, Relativity’s Vice President of Legal, stressed ESG as “here to stay, not a fad.”
For cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery leaders, ESG will ultimately necessitate updated data and compliance architectures. To capitalize on this shift, teams can apply existing skills for extracting insights from disparate sources and navigating regulatory change.
ESG promises to redefine corporate success measures beyond profits. By starting now, organizations across industries can lead toward a sustainable future and do well by doing good.
Relativity Fest Coverage
The ESG Revolution: How a New Corporate Code is Reshaping Business
A quiet revolution is transforming the corporate world. ESG, short for “environmental, social, and governance,” has rapidly emerged as a new code shaping how companies operate, innovate, and measure success. This ESG revolution took its place on stage at September’s Relativity Fest 2023, bringing legal tech leaders together to dissect ESG’s growing prominence. “ESG is here to stay, not a fad,” stated Beth Kallet-Neuman, Relativity’s Vice President of Legal, ahead of moderating the “ABCD…ESG: The ESG Basics for eDiscovery” panel.
In a pre-panel interview, Kallet-Neuman emphasized ESG as taking corporate responsibility to the next level through robust processes and diverse perspectives. She also highlighted that eDiscovery’s shift from paper to digital has reduced waste and emissions and is a practical example of ESG initiatives in action.
Joining Kallet-Neuman on the panel stage, PwC’s Jamie Gamble highlighted forces driving ESG’s rise: growing climate change awareness, increased government reporting regulations, and market pressures as consumers, recruits, and investors factor ESG into decisions.
Embedding ESG Through Large and Small Steps
The panel extensively discussed how organizations of all sizes and across industries are progressively embedding ESG principles through sustainability initiatives both large and small. Research indicates that examples range from enacting basic recycling programs to comprehensively tracking and reducing carbon emissions through advanced IoT sensor networks and AI-enabled analytics. Panelists noted that the eDiscovery industry’s seismic shift from physical records to born-digital formats has already drastically slashed paper waste, transportation emissions, real estate needs, and data storage costs. This positive gain perfectly positions eDiscovery providers to lead in the broader corporate ESG transformation. Jigna Dalal of Squire Patton Boggs advised that legal teams in particular can further help companies maximize ESG opportunities based on their existing expertise extracting actionable insights from large, disparate, and complex data sources. eDiscovery professionals accustomed to bringing structure and order amidst expansive document chaos are uniquely qualified to help businesses make sense of the coming deluge of ESG-related sustainability data and reporting.
Appealing to Consumers and Investors
Panelists agreed today’s consumers, recruits, and investors increasingly consider ethics and sustainability in decisions. Gamble cited research showing that 80% of people want to work for, buy from, or invest in purpose-driven companies. Kallet-Neuman noted that ESG helps companies “do well by doing good.” Wise ESG integration provides strategic benefits from risk management to innovation, talent retention, and competitive edge.
Mobilizing for Mindset Change
Panelists recommended starting small with sustainability initiatives and then building into larger efforts around ethical sourcing, pay equity, diversity commitments, and more. Kevin Bannon of CMS UK advised individuals across organizations should activate ESG. Top-down leadership vision and bottom-up enthusiasm are crucial to driving change. Jamie Gamble stressed fully integrating ESG into value chain analysis and capital allocation decisions. Panelists agreed implementation requires grassroots and leadership momentum.
ESG: Code for Long-Term Success
Experts say purpose-driven ESG can become a core driver of innovation, efficiency, and profitability by turning obligations into opportunities. ESG integration can also position companies as advocates for societal good. Panelists emphasized tackling ESG across supply chains to accelerate progress and noted that universal standards will amplify coordination.
At Relativity Fest, the message was clear: ESG is rapidly reshaping business for a sustainable future by merging “doing well” and “doing good.” The ESG revolution remains early stage – for companies to embed ESG principles and thrive, the time to start is now.
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