We played twenty questions with
Mark Schumacher, Saffron’s Strategy Director.

From best practices to top tips, in this interview Mark gives his perspective on all things ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) commitments. 

Read the full interview to find out more:

How would you define good ESG practice?
Clear goals, bold actions and rigorously transparent reporting.

Recommended report: ESG: Creating impact where it matters

 

How important is a sustainable business – why should we do this, and who are we trying to satisfy?
Sustainability can benefit all stakeholders by inspiring innovative ideas that are good for people, the planet, and profit.

 

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How do we measure success?
Deloitte, EY, PWC and KPMG collaborated to create Common Metrics for Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation. Over 61 Companies have signed up and hopefully, more will follow!

 

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Learn more here

What book would you recommend?
The Third Plate by Dan Barber

 

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Buy the book here

What are the skills needed for working on ESG?
Perseverance!

 

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Do you have any advice for a student trying to get work experience in the industry?
Volunteering is a great way to learn more about the causes you care about and see what it takes to build a movement.

 

How does the practice of branding have to change, in light of the crisis we are facing?

How can a company benefit from ESG?
Topline growth, cost reductions, regulatory compliance, increased productivity and asset optimisation – credit to McKinsey for the concise summary!

 

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Learn more here

 

Does driving the ESG agenda mean sacrificing company returns?
Not at all. Patagonia, Salesforce, Tesla, Apple, Nike… the list of successful companies that view ESG as a strategic priority is huge.

 

How should corporations address societal concerns such as racial equity or pay equity?
Doing nothing is not an option. Be honest about your starting point and take decisive action to become better.

Further reading: PwC: ESG Investor survey

 

How do we create the right culture?
A culture of collaboration.

 

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How do you stay up to date on ESG trends?
ESG is everywhere. Instagram, YouTube, Reddit… even on the front door of ‘The Queen’s bank’. Keep your eyes open and you’ll find new inspiration every day.

 

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What is the best process to define an ESG strategy?
The Saffron process! Define your ambition. Set your goals. Evaluate where you stand. Take steps to improve. Measure your progress. Repeat.

 

When should companies consider a rebrand to improve their ESG agenda?
If leadership is committed to putting ESG at the heart of their business, then a rebrand is a powerful tool to spark change. But be careful, words without action will lead to accusations of greenwashing.

 

When can creativity and ESG performance go hand in hand?
Improving ESG performance can’t be achieved without creativity. Businesses need new thinking to solve the challenges they face and unlock the opportunities that exist. 

Nike Move to Zero is a great example of this in action.

 

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Learn more here

 

Environmental vs Social: Which pillar is more relevant?
Brands should focus their resources on where they can have the greatest positive impact. For example, Kiva is creating a more financially inclusive world and Parley is working to save our oceans. One is not better than the other.

 

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Learn more here

 

Who do you think is doing a good job from a brand perspective with ESG?
Pangaia is doing amazing work using new material innovations to create sustainable fashion.

 

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Learn more here

 

What is your favourite kind of project?
Building clients’ ESG platform – the foundation for action. Check out BT’s:

 

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What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter this industry?
Be open-minded about where you want to work and consider not just companies that are leaders but those that are seriously committed to change.

We hope you enjoyed playing 20 questions with Mark. If you’d like to discuss your ESG strategy, get in touch.

How about a pinch of Saffron?

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