*The full interview can be found at the bottom of this page.
Global research encourages investment in ESG, and companies are asked to embrace this concept. In her interview, Frosina Geceva Kocova, Chair of the AmCham ESG Committee and Quality Manager, responsible for ESG, at Makedonski Telekom, emphasized the importance of the ESG Concept, as a topic that nowadays is gaining momentum.
These five highlights mark her interview:
1. The ESG concept is a hot topic on the international stage. Less attention is given in our country.
The conduct of businesses and their concern for the environment, people, and governance practices are not novel. They’ve been around for decades. All stakeholders, including investors, shareholders, and buyers, have higher expectations now than ever before from the business sector. This has resulted in the recent development of the ESG concept, which is a more systematic approach and an indicator of the company’s care and impact over environmental, social, and governance aspects.
2. Rather than being seen as a burden, the ESG concept should be perceived as a competitive advantage.
The ESG concept serves as a driver for businesses to make necessary changes in order to maintain their position as market leaders. Companies should not view this concept as a burden, as it may be in the present, but rather as a chance to enhance their operations and differentiate. Currently, the ESG concept offers an opportunity for businesses, but in the future, it will be a “must” if they wish to participate in the global market and supply chains.
3.Most large companies are already familiar with the ESG concept. A greater support is needed to the SMEs.
Large organizations that are a part of corporations are aware of this concept and implement certain activities and practices. Some of them have ESG strategies or are in the process of developing them. On the other hand, small and medium-sized businesses require additional assistance. That is the reason why the facilitation of knowledge and experience exchange between large and SME businesses is of great importance.
4. Even though the ESG concept may sound abstract, businesses should integrate it in their daily operations.
The scope of the ESG concept is wide. Companies should not view it as something abstract, but instead adopt and incorporate it into their daily operations. In order to achieve this, businesses must first determine which operations fall under the ESG concept. Having this knowledge, it will be much simpler for them to develop an ESG strategy and apply it across their operations. The next step would be to establish indicators with which they may monitor and measure the impact of their activities, making them aware of their organizational sustainability.
5. Investing in ESG provides returns over a longer time period.
Whether to invest in ESG, ie. what the investment versus the profit is, is the question that every top management is asking right now. Approaching this question from a slightly different angle, if companies decide not to invest, it may end up costing them more money in the long run (fines from non-compliance with regulations, less attractiveness among investors and buyers, ….). Understanding that ESG investments have a longer-term return is important, as global research indicates that investing in ESG is recommended.
*As an advocate for promotion of the ESG topic, the ESG Committee’s role is to support the business sector in recognizing and implementing the ESG concept, as well as to serve as a platform for the exchange of knowledge and best practices.