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

About the Author

  • Elaina Shekhter‎ 3
    Elaina Shekhter‎

    Ms. Shekhter heads up EPAM’s Global Marketing and Strategy, working to integrate a variety of functions that have a material influence on the strategy, positioning, and global brand of the company. She has held a number of leadership roles within EPAM, including most recently as the Global Head of Business Development and, prior to that, as the Global Head of the Travel and Consumer Business Unit. Ms. Shekhter is an advisory board member for the MACH Alliance, a group of independent tech companies dedicated to open, best-of-breed ecosystems. She is also active in the software startup and emerging technology community, representing EPAM in its investment in the Go Philly Fund to support regional venture funding for seed and early stage companies, including as a board member of recent EPAM seed investment, SigmaLedger. Ms. Shekhter also takes a special interest in artificial intelligence and sustainability initiatives and is focused on expanding EPAM’s investment in these areas.

  • Ken Gordon
    Ken Gordon
    Chief Communications Specialist

    Ken makes EPAM Continuum’s work visible to the necessary people. He creates superlative content, works with colleagues to do the same, and employs social networks to share it widely.

    A card-carrying humanist, Ken co-founded QuickMuse, the improvisational writing website, and JEDLAB, the Jewish education community. He has written for, the New York Times, and many other pubs.

    Ken has an English degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MA in English from the State University of New York at Albany. He framed both diplomas long ago, but can’t seem to find them now—a fact he considers all-too-human.