- 50% of Irish C-suites say ESG is now as important as financial performance
- ESG training and a lack of measuring metrics are identified as barriers at the C-suite level
The global communications company, Havas, has officially launched its Irish sustainability offering, Genus. The practice was launched at an event yesterday evening at Havas Village Dublin on Cuffe Street by Minister Eamon Ryan and included speakers from Microsoft Ireland and AstraZeneca, along with prominent international sustainability expert, Mike Barry.
The key areas discussed at the event included the new Irish sectoral targets, the looming EU reporting requirements on business, and the infrastructure challenges companies face in Ireland in achieving their sustainability targets.
First launched in London in May 2022, Havas Genus is an integrated global network of sustainability experts, bringing together a broad set of capabilities to help address sustainability challenges for businesses. Now launched in Ireland, Genus is an integrated offer of business transformation, strategic communication, and creative and brand services to the public and private sectors.
The launch comes as Havas Genus proprietary research shows 50% of C-suites in Ireland now say ESG is as important as the company’s financial performance, while over a third of respondents (39%) say it is more important. The research was carried out in June 2022 when Havas Village business transformation consultants, Gate One, spoke to 105 Irish C-suite business leaders about their sustainability journey, what motivates the decisions they are taking, and what they need to embed their strategy.
74% of C-suites say the shift in focus towards the ESG agenda is for the better. When asked about the opportunities of doing so, 65% said this change can increase the resilience of the company’s operations. This was followed closely by improving equality in the workplace and mitigating risks by strengthening good governance.
Speaking at the event, chair of Havas Village Dublin, Chris Upton, said: “We are delighted to officially launch Havas Genus, a global sustainability network, in Ireland. Genus brings together expert consultants to help meet the challenges and opportunities faced by organisations in delivering their sustainability requirements and obligations.
“Our research shows how important ESG is to businesses and C-suites, and demonstrates the challenges they face in addressing the requirements. Havas Genus will bridge that gap for many organisations.”
International sustainability expert, Mike Barry, said: “In the present moment, citizens are expecting government and big businesses to step up to face the climate crisis that will affect us all. To do so will require a transformative mindset, one that recognises that this is not big business as usual – one where businesses must integrate sustainability into all aspects of its practices, from strategies to models to consumer services.”
Further research shows that, according to 70% of respondents, the C-suite in their organisation have undergone specific ESG/sustainability training. However, when those surveyed were asked what barriers are preventing the wider adoption of ESG principles in Ireland, 60% said there needs to be more ESG education across board and C-suite level, while 53% said a lack of meaningful metrics to measure returns to stakeholders was a major barrier.
Over half of businesses (56%) reported that their employees were highly engaged in the company’s ESG strategy. 500 employees from businesses in the private sector also took part in an online survey for the report. 43% of them said they would like to see more education and support to help employees at all levels integrate sustainability into their regular work practices. 46% of workers said they would potentially reject a job offer from a company with a poor track record when it comes to sustainability.