David Alfrey, lawyer at Clifford Chance, was one of the speakers at the latest ESG Integration Forum – Autumn, hosted by Governance Intelligence and IR Magazine.
His panel session reflected on the key ESG takeaways of 2023, including supply-chain challenges, increased shareholder scrutiny and the impact of new reporting frameworks. It also cast an eye over what 2024 has in store in terms of ESG trends and what companies should prepare for.
After the session, Governance Intelligence sat down for a one-to-one chat with Alfrey to get an overview of which part of the ESG acronym businesses of all sizes should be putting their efforts into in the new year.
‘I think climate change has been done and most people are relatively comfortable with what they’re doing on [it],’ Alfrey noted. ‘[In 2024] where the real pressure points will be and where the emphasis will likely be required is on understanding social issues and biodiversity issues.’
Alfrey also offered his views on the future of the anti-ESG sentiment, noting that while the backlash has been predominant in the US and perhaps not as strong in Europe, it’s finding its way into continental European countries and the UK.
He said the fundamental question the investment community should ask is: does this mean we are going to see less ESG?
Alfrey also discussed the future of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures’ framework in the context of adoption and offered insights on whether companies should consider adding more context to their ESG disclosures.