ESG and CSR: moving the needle for sustainable supply chains

As the ISEAL Global Sustainability Symposium approaches, we’re delighted to announce Richard Howitt, Strategic Advisor on Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Business and Human Rights and former MEP, as our keynote speaker

To celebrate Richard’s involvement, here’s an insight into what he has to say

ESG, CSR and effective due diligence

This year, through expert insights, discussion and networking, the ISEAL Global Sustainability Symposium will explore what effective due diligence partnerships look like, and the roles different actors play to achieve sustainability goals.

“As the global campaign for business and human rights hastens, and with the countdown to the SDGs on the horizon, it feels to me as if the whole world is coming together to define the future,” Richard says.

“Business, sustainability and human rights have unfolded over such a long timescale, and now we are in a true moment of opportunity.

“ISEAL is ahead of the game, but how do you stay ahead of the game? That future will involve Gen Z, the rise of ESG investment, CSR and due diligence.

“On a personal level, it will involve everyone included in this global movement, because what we are all advocating for is progress, and for a focus on people, because everyone is struggling.”

Progress at pace

Richard believes that today, conditions that quicken and deepen business sustainability are becoming more favourable.

In particular, he sees corporate due diligence for social and environmental issues is high on the agenda for many supply chain actors.

Globally, these new expectations and laws are reshaping supply chain behaviour and sourcing for potentially decades to come.

“With sustainability due diligence, we must celebrate the regulations that have just happened in Europe, and it’s not just Europe; it’s all around the world,” he says.

“Of course, there is plenty of hard work still to do. We must look at the differences between a compliance approach and a development approach, and the choice of how sustainability is advanced.

“Equally, we would be very remiss not to speak out on producers and the global south – and the world’s power imbalances.

“Much of this is about such polarities of power, but of course it is also about standardisation and how we are moving toward system change – and how successful will that be?

“There are also intriguing interplays – how sectoral approaches can work, but not at the expense of having a holistic view,” Richard continues.

Walking an accountable path

“I am so pleased to be joining ISEAL at this year’s event.

“I will seek to inspire the day’s work – using my previous experience as the European Union's rapporteur on corporate social responsibility, and with many of the world's leading sustainability reporting initiatives to hold us to account – within the wider sustainability movement which we are a part of.

“Transparency is essential for sustainability, and it’s essential for a successful event too.”

Hear more from Richard at the ISEAL Global Sustainability Symposium on 13 June 2024 in Baden, Switzerland.

Register now to join a candid conversation on what effective due diligence and reporting partnerships can look like, and the roles different actors can play to achieve sustainability goals.

The 2024 ISEAL Global Sustainability Symposium is hosted with generous support from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)