The Double-Wicked Challenge Articles

Podcast – What is the “S” in ESG? The difficult jam in the sandwich?

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As glaciers melt and dodgy peddlers of cryptocurrency go bust, we hear a lot about the “E” and “G” in ESG but rarely the “S” which is the essential jam in the sandwich. It’s the stranded middle child. Even classifying exactly what it means is complicated and open to widely differing interpretations. And even when benchmarks are created, how on earth do you measure it?

This podcast is about what the “S” means for employees especially those who are at the bottom of the pecking order and are being heavily squeezed in the cost-of-living crisis. What is the relationship between business and its people within the supply chain – many of whom may be on the other side of the world? In an increasingly fractured society, business has a unique platform to make a difference and young talent are looking to work for organisations with integrity and purpose. Unjustifiably large pay gaps and fat-cattery may be coming back to bite hard.

On the other side of the coin, while business may feel it wants to do the right thing and act in an enlightened modern 21st century way, but can that relationship become too close? Have things gone too far when an organisation offers to freeze its young employee’s eggs? Do people want this level of emotional intimacy with their employer or do they have every right to say, “This is totally none of your business Mr Boss Man?”

The programme features interviews with three experts who have been thinking through these issues.

Firstly, Baroness Wheatcroft, a journalist and life peeress who was former editor-in-chief at the Wall Street Journal in Europe. She now chairs the Oversight Committee of the Financial Times and the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions and sits on the boards of St James’s Place and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Next, we have Penny De Valk, who has a long history of experience working in what HR people call the “people space”. She is now a digital nomad – with a large following for her executive coaching and mentoring practice which specialises in bringing women up the executive leadership ladder.

And finally, Eithne O’Leary, President of Stifel Europe leads and is responsible for 400 people who work in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

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