What to include – and what to leave out – when planning an ESG investor day
When determining the content of an ESG investor day, Ryan Weispfenning, vice president and head of IR at Medtronic, recommends focusing on the areas where tangible comment can be made.
‘It is important that your ESG story is authentic,’ he says. ‘If you have the good fortune of working for a company that has a long history of conducting activities that today would be considered ESG-related, tie your ESG story to that history.
‘For us at Medtronic, it has been really powerful to link our ESG initiatives and material issues back to the six tenets of our company mission, which was written in 1960.’
This article is an extract from the recently published Best Practice Report – How to hold an ESG investor day, sponsored by Cision. Click here to download your copy now for information on choosing the right format, deciding what to include – and what to omit – and measuring the effectiveness of your ESG investor day.
Another vital component to include is a Q&A session, says Louis Coppola, co-founder and executive vice president at Governance & Accountability Institute. ‘The most important part with the most value for a company is the Q&A because it can get great feedback from investors on where they think the company hit the mark, what they feel is most important, where they think the company has gaps, and so on,’ he says.
‘Getting that external check, that gut check on where the firm is and where there are gaps and room for improvement, is so valuable. Then at the next event, companies can show how they responded to that feedback, creating an investor engagement process that has a continuous feedback loop.’
Addressing any negatives
Tempting as it may be to solely focus on the positive, companies should be prepared to tackle any issue head-on, recommends Rory Sullivan, CEO at Chronos Sustainability. ‘Companies should be prepared to answer questions, and should be prepared to answer substantively,’ he says. ‘The big mistake companies make is trying to bluff – either by talking around an issue or by throwing statistics out to confuse the issue – and investors are well used to seeing through that.’
Coppola agrees. ‘Try not to just paint a rosy picture and come off as all positive,’ he says. ‘You must also address the negatives and the challenges in order to come off as authentic and get valuable feedback and guidance on the tough parts. Be ready to address controversies because investors will come with questions about them. If you leave out the challenges, they will come up anyway.’