ESG is a small abbreviation, but it stands for a lot when companies and investors take it into proper consideration. JUMO’s Environmental, Social and Governance Lead Jade Potgieter unpacks these three broad categories in the context of socially responsible investing.
‘There is a growing trend for investors to incorporate their values and concerns (such as the climate crisis) into their selection criteria when considering opportunities. This means that they don’t only look at the commercial return of a potential investment, but they also take the impact a specific company has on the world into account. How a company performs as a steward for nature, manages relationships with communities and approaches leadership, audits, internal controls and shareholder rights, should all be taken into account.
For us at JUMO, ESG is not just about attracting investors or investor reporting. Making a lasting, positive impact is woven into our business model and operations at multiple levels and across teams. We use reporting to inform where we can improve. As JUMO’s ESG Lead, I try to make the work we do as visible and as practical as possible through clear communication, measurable targets and simplified reporting. The aim is to ensure all our stakeholders understand the impact we have on the world. This may be by analysing our employment and customer gender stats and then choosing to develop young women in tech through partnerships with coding academies. Or, it might be understanding and changing our environmental impact by replacing old light bulbs with energy efficient ones. The more tangible and real the metrics are, the more successful we will be.
Measuring and benchmarking is key to understanding how you compare and what you can do better.
We look at how our company can support the United Nations’ Global Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs) as well as completing an annual B Impact assessment and reviewing the results to see what we can change. We currently, proudly, score 128 points in the B Impact assessment, which is higher than many of our peers doing great work, but it’s more than just a number. We understand that a good score equates to a sustainable and responsible business that cares about the impact we have on the environment and people.
A great example of an improvement identified from the assessment, is the recent update of our parental leave policy, which now takes gender identification, sexual orientation and non-traditional family circumstances into account. We have avoided gender stereotyping by enabling fathers to have as much leave as mothers if they are the primary caregiver of a newborn. This policy reduces gender inequality and empowers employees to make decisions that suit their families and careers.
JUMOnauts feel passionate about the impact JUMO has. Our mission to improve access to financial services in emerging markets is the reason many of us join and stay with the company. Seeing positive progress towards better female representation in leadership, or being able to take part in a beach clean up, or understanding the difference our products make, is what makes us proud. So while ESG is largely viewed as a driver for investment, at JUMO we care about these things because they matter.’