Why ESG Matters for Business: Insights from Fortune's Geoff Colvin

Gail Davis, 27 June 2023


With over four decades at Fortune, Geoff Colvin has covered the economic, political, technological, and competitive forces disrupting business and how top leaders and companies adapt and transform to win in spite of them. Lately, he has been reporting on the movement by businesses to prioritize environmental, social, and governance (ESG) in their operations. Many leaders feel ESG is not just a moral imperative but rather a business one, too.

At the same time, ESG has become an increasingly controversial topic, with some investors taking issue with companies that consider ESG in their decision-making. On the flip side, business leaders who embrace ESG feel that it’s in the best interests of investors to take the long view because companies will be more profitable when all stakeholders are considered. The friction appears to be here to stay, especially as profit margins are squeezed with the toughening economy.

In Geoff’s view, companies that ignore ESG risk losing out on potential opportunities and face significant risks in the long run.


WATCH CLIP: The New Economic Order – Risks and Opportunity

As mentioned in the video clip, Geoff shares many important topics that can affect a company’s bottom line. And while they create risk, it also creates an environment of ample opportunity – much like ESG. ESG risks such as climate change, human rights abuses, and data breaches can result in reputational damage, legal liabilities, and financial losses. On the other hand, companies that prioritize ESG can benefit from reduced risk exposure, improved brand reputation, and increased stakeholder trust, which can lead to better financial performance over the long term.

In addition to the financial benefits, Geoff has argued that ESG is also important for attracting and retaining talent. As younger generations enter the workforce, they are increasingly looking for employers who align with their values and priorities. Companies that prioritize ESG are more likely to attract and retain top talent, which can help them stay competitive in the market.

Given the importance of ESG, having someone like Geoff come and speak on this popular topic at conferences and events can be incredibly beneficial for business leaders. Geoff's expertise and insights can help attendees understand the latest trends and best practices in business, as well as the potential risks and opportunities that arise from prioritizing ESG.

WATCH CLIP: Opportunity in a Fast Changing World


One thing that Geoff recommends to business leaders in thinking about ESG in their everyday business practices, is to integrate ESG considerations into their decision-making processes. Instead of treating ESG as a separate issue, companies should make it an integral part of their overall strategy and operations. This means considering ESG factors when making decisions on investments, partnerships, and supply chain management, among other things.

By integrating ESG into the decision-making processes, companies can ensure that they are considering the full range of risks and opportunities associated with their operations. They can also identify areas where they can make a positive impact on the environment and society, which can help them enhance their reputation and build trust with others.

As business leaders face their biggest challenges, Geoff Colvin is the voice of experience who shines a light – revealing a clearer path for an uncertain future. He will speak on the latest trends in business, like ESG, and can provide valuable insights and offer best practices for companies, helping leaders stay ahead of the changing curve. And by prioritizing ESG, Geoff believes companies are not just contributing to a better world for all, they are doing what’s right for their investors in the long run.

Click here to learn more about Geoff Colvin and how he may help you and your teams learn more about ESG.