Measuring ESG with Cambridge University's Jennifer Howard-Grenville


“Yes, We Need Data. We Need Transparency. But We [Also] Need Measures of System Health that Are Regional, that Are Local, that Are Community-Based.”

The Resonance Test 66: Jennifer Howard-Grenville

July 8, 2021
by Elaina Shekhter‎ Ken Gordon
HowardGrenville Jennifer

ESG. Many companies are talking about these three letters but none of them have spelled out exactly what it means to measure—properly and effectively—their Environmental, Social, and Governance activities. The herculean challenges of attempting to do so prompted Jennifer Howard-Grenville, the Diageo Professor of Organization Studies at the Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, to publish a smart piece in HBR entitled, “ESG Impact Is Hard to Measure—But It’s Not Impossible.” That article brought her to The Resonance Test to discuss with Elaina Shekhter, EPAM’s Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer and SVP, the nuances and challenges here. Howard-Grenville says that businesses are increasingly recognizing that “sustainability is absolutely core to their strategy; you cannot execute a strategy in the 21st century in any business without understanding, sustainability.” Figuring out how to manage this will require acknowledging the hubris in conventional measurement plans and taking a more systems-thinking approach. This is no mean feat, as Howard-Grenville suggests. “We live in a paradoxical world—we need short-term results, but we need to orient to the long term,” she says. “We're never going to break down that tension. We need to live with it. We need to move back and forth with it. We need to be okay with it and we need to understand it's difficult.” Press the play button and listen to some frank and thoughtful remarks about trying to take the true measure of ESG.

Host: Alison Kotin
Engineer: Kyp Pilalas
Producer: Ken Gordon

The Resonance Test 66: Jennifer Howard-Grenville
filed in: sustainability, complex systems, employee experience, customer experience

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