ESG brings higher value to business

Mar 21
AC Hotel by Marriott, Dzirnavu 33

On March 21, the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia (AmCham) together with Cognizant hosted a session devoted to the topic of sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and the challenges, risks and opportunities for businesses when integrating ESG strategies into their operations.

Take a look at the short video of the discussion:

Līga Kurevska, State Secretary of the Climate and Energy Ministry of Latvia kicked off with an overview of the climate neutrality targets, stressing how important is both guidance and regulatory framework for specific industries and society-at-large.

Following that, Noah Nzuki, ESG Lead (EMEA & APAC), Core Technologies & Insights – AI & I, Cognizant gave a keynote speech on the main integration challenges of ESG. According to him, “ESG is about understanding and lowering risk as well as adding value to businesses.” He emphasized that tech companies can help other industries in the integration of ESG, thus opening tremendous business opportunities.

Anete Dimitrovska, Attorney-at-law at Ellex Klavins explained the evolution of sustainability reporting and touched upon Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the draft EU sustainability reporting standards that will be tailored to EU policies while building on and contributing to international standardization initiatives, aiming to avoid the unnecessary administrative burden.

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion made up of various business, public and academic sector representatives including: 

  • Noah Nzuki, ESG (EMEA), Core Technologies & Insights – AI & I, Cognizant
  • Līga Kurevska, State Secretary of the Climate and Energy Ministry of Latvia
  • Agris Ņikitenko, Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, RTU
  • Adriāna Kauliņa, Chief Sustainability Officer, Tet
  • Dzintars Kalniņš, Head of Operations, Aerones group
  • Ilmārs Šņucins, Deputy State Secretary for Taxation, Customs and Accounting issues, Ministry of Finance
  • Kadri Vunder Fontana, Head of Group Sustainability, Luminor 
  • Anete Dimitrovska, Attorney-at-law, Ellex Klavins

Panelists agreed that the directive for sustainability reporting and other upcoming regulations will affect companies of all sizes. In addition to regulatory requirements, customers and companies’ own ambitions are driving the ESG integration. It was agreed that EU reporting standards and regulatory framework will have a global impact and can be considered a progressive and necessary approach to meet the climate goals set by the EU.

To explore future opportunities the panel discussed the pros and cons of using AI in ESG strategies and implementation mechanisms. Panel experts agreed that sustainability reporting will not only require the collection of data but also the assessment of existing business processes, value chains, and the introduction of new processes. Availability and quality of data is still critical in order to embed sustainability into strategy and operations and build resilience beyond risk mitigation.

From the business point of view, although the implementation of ESG will be a complex and challenging task, it can ultimately add real value and increase operating profits therefore ESG strategy and implementation can significantly contribute to short-term and long-term goals and growth. One of the major challenges has been the lack of uniform supervision with respect to ESG matters from the public sector. The discussion concluded in agreement that more cross-sectoral collaboration and awareness is needed for building a successful business transition not only on the European Union, but pan-Baltic level that can create significant benefits for the market players. A company’s value is no longer only defined by financial profitability – ESG has become part of the new equation and will only continue to grow in its significance.

LIST OF SPEAKERS

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