University of Edinburgh Business School
Leadership, Governance and the imperative of Sustainable Business for Investor Communications
June 6, 2017

The Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Network (CRSN), the Investor Relations Society and Emperor came together for this speaker event on investor communications, leadership and governance.

CRSN and Emperor banners

In May 2017, the Sustainable Business Initiative (SBI)’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Network (CRSN) members came together to enjoy an event in collaboration with the Investor Relations Society, supported by Emperor.

It was the IR Society’s first journey outside of London for a number of years and they attracted a great crowd for the event that focused on the importance of investor communications, leadership and governance for sustainability.

Approximately 50 attendees gathered for the event and the first speaker, who represented academic perspectives, was Professor Kenneth Amaeshi, Director of SBI. He explored research which was undertaken seven years ago and how things have since changed.

It specifically considered mainstreaming sustainability, quantifying the impact of sustainability and the challenge this poses for investors with emphasis on three main things:

  1. Objectification and manipulability
  2. Singularization
  3. Exchangability, networks and artefacts

Network members then heard from Leighton Barnish, Head of Sustainability Consulting at Emperor, who discussed the emergence of sustainability and the impact of younger generations (in particular generation X and Y).

Emperor is an independently owned creative consultancy specialising in creative reporting, digital, engagement and brand communications. They have an extensive portfolio of international clients. The keynote speakers, who presented practitioner views, actually represented two of their clients, namely JLL and RB Group, and Leighton went on to introduce them.

First up was Christopher Hillman, who is the Global Sustainability Manager at Reckitt Benckiser (RB) Group – an international consumer goods company with a focus on hygiene, health and home products. He gave an overview of the company’s journey towards integrated reporting, how they communicate it over different media channels, and how they are striving towards further integrated reporting going forward.

The next speaker was Thomas Roundell Greene who is the Senior Manager for Global Sustainability at JLL (also known as Jones Lang LaSalle). They are a professional services company that focus on real estate and investment management. He provided an overview of how the company views sustainability as a strong differentiator and value creator for clients. They strive towards ensuring increased resilience and future-orientated services that promote entrepreneurial spirit.

The speakers then took part in a robust discussion chaired by the IR Society’s General Manager, John Gollifer. Given the diverse group of attendees from the Network, including academics and practitioners, and of course the panel of speakers, it was exceptionally lively. The comparison between academic thinking and how theory reveals itself in reality always provides interesting insights. Conversation continued throughout the drinks reception and Network members said farewell until the next event, which will be held in June.

View details and register for the June 2017 CRSN event