Celebrating 21 Years
Celebrating GoodCorporation's 21st anniversary at the House of Lords, Leo Martin spoke about the evolution of business ethics over the past two decades, and the next steps for GoodCorporation. Leo reflected on the continuous flow of corporate scandals that seem similar in content to 2000, when GoodCorporation launched, to the present day. This is despite the genuine concerns at the time of GoodCorporation’s launch about poor corporate behaviour and its impact on individual companies, their reputation, financial performance and the effect on stakeholders and the environment.
From the beginning GoodCorporation set out to provide a robust approach to measuring and evaluating responsible management and conduct. This was based on the premise that there was an obvious business case for ethical and responsible behaviour. A virtuous circle that ensured well-supported stakeholders would allow management to focus on strategy, so creating more sustainable businesses.
GoodCorporation identified the lack of any measurement system for non-financial performance that
would allow investors and other stakeholders to identify and differentiate good companies from bad.
One of the key changes over the last decade, has been the interest shown from investors in grappling with non-financial performance and making it a central aspect of investment decisions. This rise in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing has been a game-changer.
We are also seeing a real shift in what society will accept and tolerate from business. This, together with a steady flow of regulation designed to mandate specific corporate behaviours, means we seem to be at something of an inflection point. As such we are likely to see an increased focus on responsible business practice and evidencing that this is applied and embedded.
Many of our clients have been at the forefront of this drive towards greater transparency and integrity. We are delighted to have been part of their journey and look forward to the next 20 years of helping to develop further best practice.
New board announcement Developing an ESG strategy
As GoodCorporation continues to grow, three non-executive directors have been appointed to the board, bringing a wealth of business development, finance and strategy experience.
Vicky Pryce has a long association with GoodCorporation which she co-founded. She has held senior economic positions in banking and the oil sector.
Catherine Roche also has a long association with GoodCorporation and is Chief Executive of children's mental health charity Place2Be.
Mei Li Powell has had a global career in financial services with a particular expertise in business growth.
Leo Martin and the rest of the GoodCorporation team are delighted to welcome our new board members to the company at such an important stage in our development. Their combined expertise will add considerable strength to our management team, supporting our further growth and development.
Companies are under greater scrutiny than ever before. It is widely accepted they have an impact on the planet that must be managed and a duty to stakeholders who are impacted by their activities.
Investors, and now regulators, are demanding to see how these material issues are being managed, so taking a passive approach to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is no longer an option. Having an effective strategy for ESG is now a requirement.
GoodCorporation works with companies to develop their ESG strategies. We help identify all material ESG issues; analyse any regulatory or reporting requirements; create a baseline to assess what is already in place; set clear targets to demonstrate commitment and help build a framework setting out what needs to be done with a detailed road map for implementation. Once the framework has been established we work with clients to produce a clear communications plan for all stakeholders.
Over the summer, GoodCorporation worked with students from Warwick and SOAS universities to carry out research into three key business ethics areas: artificial intelligence (AI), diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI), and ESG.
Our AI project explored the human rights implications of AI tools and the ethical challenges this raises. Our DEI research investigated how UK companies manage DEI, including the indicators monitored and the targets set.
For ESG we conducted research into ESG reporting to gain a deeper understanding of what companies currently report and the targets they set.
ESG can be a challenge for businesses as they are increasingly required to provide evidence of their commitment to sustainability, integrity and good governance in order to access growing funds of ESG capital.
Knowing that agriculture is a significant source of greenhouse emissions, fertilizer multi-national Yara International worked with GoodCorporation to develop ESG frameworks that were used to evaluate its operations
from an ESG perspective.
This enabled Yara to identify a series of ESG metrics and KPIs that would help the company measure performance and track improvement over time.
GoodCorporation discusses the Norwegian Transparency Act which came into force this summer placing further human rights due diligence obligations on businesses.
The legislation is demanding, as it applies to Norwegian or foreign companies with operations in Norway above a certain size. It also places further public reporting requirements on companies and obliges them to respond to
requests from any stakeholder about human rights risks identified within their operations
The Act joins a growing list of duty of care legislation, showing a clear direction of travel for human rights regulation.
"Congratulations GoodCorporation! You were ahead of your time, now of the time and leading the future, here's to the next 21 years"
Philippa Foster Back, CBE, GoodCorporation anniversary party