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Compliance expert Lucie Andreisová: ESG for more effective operations and sustainable development

As part of our "Designing a risk intelligence methodology for ESG assessment" project, we held a meeting of the PRINCEPS Executive Club about the role of ESG evaluations in business development. Here, we had the opportunity to interview one of our keynotes Lucie Andreisová, CE Head of Compliance and Ethics at Tesco and Assistant Professor of International Business Law, about current trends on the Czech ESG scene.

 

According to statistics presented by Samuel Štric from CIRAA, only 4% know what the acronym ESG stands for. Is it a sign of good governance?

We live in social bubbles; at this event and in my classes I am surrounded by ESG enthusiasts, but I’m afraid that the numbers do not reflect the overall reality. However, the implementation of the EU legislation will start a chain reaction among the entrepreneurs and their suppliers that will lead to a boost in general awareness.

 

What can be done to make ESG more popular?

I would compare ESG now with GDPR several years ago. At first, no one understood what it was good for and the overall public stance was negative. But then, and it was thanks to GDPR, people realized how some companies treat their personal data and now GDPR is no longer a topic. General awareness is crucial and, in this case, even negative marketing is helping to spread the message.

 

What should the communication strategy look like?

We saw on the example of GDPR that a full-front media attack is not the right way of dissemination. And with ESG, we again have something that is hidden behind an English abbreviation, that might be difficult to comprehend for someone who is not directly linked with the subject. That’s why communication shouldn’t be too complex because complexity awakens fear of the unknown. A few basic but very clear statements about the contribution of ESG in practical, everyday life seem to be a wise communication approach.

 

Should the state be more active in communicating ESG?

Definitely. But we cannot rely just on that. As I can see in my classes, the attitude of the new generation towards sustainability, equal opportunities and responsibility is magnificent. And with them, the steady evolution will shape the discourse.

 

How many students do you have in your classes?

Over 60 in the summer semester, but there are also parallel classes that address the topics of business continuity and sustainability.

 

And what is the incentive for the students to enrol in your course on compliance and business ethics?

They see a promising career opportunity in it. The job is very varied, you have to go into detail on different aspects of doing business, talk to employees on different levels, suggest strategies that might have an immediate impact on the company and report to the board members. As a person responsible for compliance or ethics, you get the full picture and that is for many a priceless experience.

 

Do you see a role for risk intelligence companies on this journey?

Definitely. It’s not easy to establish yourself on the market because companies are trying to avoid further costs. The point is for them to understand that the accumulated data and analysis results can be used for more effective operations and sustainable development, which will consequently also lead to higher revenue. And that’s why it’s important to talk about ESG and increase the aforementioned 4%.

 

This project is financed by EEA Norway Grants.



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