The rest is Vistry
With all the talk of ESG recently, you’d have thought executive pay was no longer an issue. But you’d be wrong.
The Times reports that Nigel Keen, remuneration committee chair at the housebuilder Vistry, the group behind Bovis homes, has chosen to step down, along with fellow non-executive Katherine Innes-Ker. They quit after investors proposed giving the company’s CEO, Greg Fitzgerald, a huge pay incentive if he got the share price from single figures up to £18.
The board has so far resisted the pay increase, but it may be revisited. The point is, despite everything, executive pay remains a very sensitive topic.
That all being said, ESG remain the top topic in governance. This week, a survey revealed that 91% of consumers believe companies should commit to improving their ESG behaviour. Three-quarters of those polled, in the survey by ID Crypt Global, said it should be mandatory that all companies are issued with an ESG score. Most say those scores should use a single method.
See, ESG was never far away.
Oliver asks for more
Staying with this topic for a moment, one vocal proponent argues that the idea of “sustainable” business does not go far enough. Businesses need a new concept: they should become “regenerative” organisations.
The idea comes from Oliver Dudok van Heel, global sustainability director with advisory firm Kearney.
The argument goes that companies should be “promoting the restoration and regeneration of natural resources and social systems”. Few companies have done so yet, according to Dudok van Heel, but it should be “at the core of every business strategy,” he says.
We can’t help but feel a lot of sympathy for this argument but, given the difficulty some companies have with just being “sustainable”, regenerative sounds very ambitious. Good luck though, Oliver.
The government remains set on adopting new sustainability disclosure standards developed by the International Sustainability Standards Board, a group set up by the organisation that develops international financial reporting standards.
New sustainability standards are expected in the summer this year and the Financial Reporting Council will run a brand new group considering how the new standards will “fit alongside existing reporting requirements for UK companies in scope”.
Companies can expect the standards to endorsed and in operation by the middle of 2024. The announcement comes as part of an update to the government’s Green Finance Strategy.