[Ray Dempsey – Group Chief Diversity Officer, Barclays]
Good morning. The microphone is on, I guess that means it is time to go to work.
[Tony Williams - Principal, Jomati Consultants LLP, Visiting Professor, The University of Law and SRA Board member]
This is a great work opportunity for the professionals.
Many of the ESG issues individually are issues law firms and others have advised on for many years, but there’s a need to pull together the advice and provide it in a comprehensive way in the way that they haven't done before.
But of course, I think there's also and perhaps much more recently, an understanding.
If I'm going to advise on that, perhaps I'd better have my own house in order.
And I think that's been the challenge.
[Tanja Gihr – Managing Director, Head of ESG Advisory, Sustainable and Impact Banking (SIB), Barclays]
I think we all know this is not going to go away.
So why not being on the front foot on that and making this a business opportunity.
I think that is often forgotten and we just see it as a threat and we need to do and it's work.
But no, it also it presents a great opportunity for the companies.
[Laura Barlow – Group Head of Sustainability, Barclays]
My ambition is that my role should become redundant once sustainability is just embedded in the way that we do banking.
I think the area of ESG where law firms - with the professions - will actually have the most impact is on the whole issue of diversity in all of its senses.
[Iffy Onuora – Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Premier League]
All the stats out there will tell you that diverse organisations operate better, are more profitable, and that is a consequence of people with different experiences coming up a similar topic from a different area and challenging that; check and challenge - it always drives progress.
I think any organisation that doesn't tap into that is really missing the trick.
[Lubna Shuja – Vice President, Law Society of England and Wales]
Diversity and inclusion should be at the centre of all business planning prioritised in the same way as other fundamental strategies.
In the past there was a sense that it had to be a bit of a top-down approach.
OK, we've got a problem here, we'll start at the top and do what we think is the right, take the right approach instead of involving the people that lived experience.
That’s the encouraging sign I see now, that's starting to happen.
Actually building those people who have experience into the organisation, into the conversations right at the start.
For decades now, corporations have done work around diversity and inclusion, but it's rested too much in the in the context of good intentions.
We say what we'd like it to be and what we'd like to accomplish, but we don't create the accountability constructs that allow us to expect the progress and the outcomes.
Prioritising it, measuring it, monitoring it and holding people to account in the same way we do all other business priorities is the real access to accelerated progress.
The impulse to stay the same is bigger than the impulse to change and that’s any organisation or, you know, it's just human nature, so you actually have to be intentional and make sure you drive those things.
It's been seen as important to have a diverse workforce.
But I think in an era now, I mean, we're seeing the hottest labour market I've ever seen in 40 years.
It's also important the firms are able to articulate what their deal is, not just in terms of money, but how do we treat people?
[Tiernan Brady – Global Director of Inclusion, Clifford Chance]
Probably the first thing is that getting our own firms to realise how important this is to the people that we want to have in the building.
I think everybody that comes to work now understands before they start work that they're going to have multiple careers in potentially multiple places and multiple countries.
So, ironically moving away from this job for life model didn't disempower people and give all the power to employers it did the opposite.
It totally empowered individuals and gave them a set of frames about well, why would I work here?
That probably didn't exist before.
What's coming back all the time inclusion, values, ESG. I think all of that's wonderful.
But if your business isn't hard-wiring it in to everything to do with your recruitment then you're not going to get the people and you won't keep the people that you do get.
I see the biggest opportunity for growth in professional services to be sort of the new horizon of the way work is done.
The role and the impact of professional services firms to help shape strategies, to help build ideas and then to help implement change and progress in organisations means an entirely new landscape of possibility and opportunity.