ESG Voices: Integrating Sustainability Into Business

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by Richard Turner, Chief Editor at KnowESG
Scott Lane Corporative Horizontal
Scott Lane, CEO and Founder, Speeki.

As the effects of anthropogenic climate change become commonplace, the ‘upside’ is the erosion of institutional and corporate resistance, in some cases, to refuting the change we face. This means that global business, whether multinational or SME, is looking for ways to understand, rationalise, and ultimately integrate ESG strategies that benefit business operations through the challenging process of transitioning to sustainability.

This is indeed both the challenge and opportunity of the era. And, while some companies have risen to devise solutions that provide us with specific technologies or defined processes to implement certain components of ESG, there is an enormous need to assist companies in navigating all that such a small acronym, ESG, can portend. The key is to find the right knowledge that can assist you, as a business operative, to know where and how to take action so that it leads to optimal impact in the specific context of your business. 

Without the right knowledge, companies could fall prey to adopting strategies that simply do not fit, resulting in mid- to long-term damage and lessened prospects for robust adaptation to an evolving business landscape.

With this in mind, we spoke to Scott Lane, CEO of Speeki, an ESG software, consulting & assurance business that helps companies globally manage the complexity of ESG and sustainability programmes. With a background in technology, law, governance, compliance, assurance and programme building, Scott leads a team of professionals that strive to make ESG and sustainability a valuable business proposition.

As a passionate entrepreneur who works closely with boards, management teams, executives and teams, his aim is simple: to make ESG and sustainability a competitive advantage

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A track record in the evolution of ESG

Scott came into the ESG and sustainability world from governance, risk, compliance, and ISO assurance, where he has been building, monitoring, and auditing programmes primarily in the ‘S’ and ‘G’ in ESG for almost 20 years. In 2020, he recognised that the growth of ESG was going to drive the corporate agenda of board rooms around the world. 

At that time, the Speeki clients that used Speeki primarily as a whistleblowing and compliance tool started to push the Speeki team to use their talents in software and ISO assurance to simplify and automate ESG with simple and effective solutions that allowed companies to scale their ESG and sustainability efforts.  

So, client pressure helped. It was the clients that drove the company to invest more and more in ESG and, combined with regulatory changes in ESG reporting, positioned Speeki well to capitalise on the growth in the market.  Thankfully, their experience and speed in development, bolstered by content expertise, has allowed the company to stay ahead of the curve in some of the key areas of ESG automation. 

Read: What Are The Challenges Of Sustainability In Business?

Company origins

With that background Speeki was born in 2020 as a spin off from a larger group that Scott sold to the London Stock Exchange Group. Taking his key people, the software platform and his accredited ISO assurance business based in France, Scott created a new company and rebranded it as Speeki. 

The group then focused their attention to invest and lead the space in technology, consulting and assurance to help manage ESG at a strategic level and provide solutions for ESG and sustainability leaders.

 Read: Companies Must Make ESG Reporting a Valuable Tool for Organisational Change 

Building sustainability into the DNA

The focus is to help companies think of ESG and sustainability at a much higher strategic level before diving down into the minutia of metrics and figures. In this sense, Speeki acknowledges the breadth of potential ESG integration in a given company’s operational outlook, and seeks to find ways to build that integration into and across a client’s culture and framework. 

“We challenge people to start with a top-down approach, before starting from bottom-up”, notes Scott. “Our focus is to build the strategy and buy-in around ESG first and then identify key programmes on which to develop”. Those programmes are built according to Speeki’s own Engage framework for ESG, one that follows the ISO management system structure to help companies build various programmes across the ESG spectrum according to a common framework.  

Helping companies think strategically with a clear value proposition before they embark on their tactical and operational steps is key to building a robust, relevant foundation for ESG. With a strong business-driven focus, Speeki helps companies focus their attention on key drivers of ESG for revenue and brand growth. 

Image of Scott Lane at Lexology Live, Hong Kong 2021

Scott speaking at Lexology Live: Hong Kong (2021)

Defining value will bring results

The approach is to always focus on the value of ESG to a business. If you can’t establish value through real hard and soft returns, then you need to go and start again. If you focus on value and returns, then no political or regulatory silliness can derail what is a smart business decision to invest in strategic programmes that bring the company value in terms of real dollars or reputation.  

“If this is right and you are pointed in the right direction, then almost anything you do will help both your stakeholders and our planet”, Scott points out. 

And so what, we ask, would be an ideal sign of credible future progress?

“That every time a committee is formed in a company or every time a meeting is held, that they include a silent chair at the table to represent the planet. It is a stakeholder in every meeting. It doesn’t speak, but it clearly has a voice and is actively using it.”

Our thanks to Scott and the Speeki team for their collaboration. You can listen to Scott's podcast and get in touch with Speeki here.


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