In a podcast focused on sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG), Debbie Gray, Director at Totum, talks to Tracey Groves, Founder and CEO of Intelligent Ethics, on why ESG is so important as a business force for good, and how law firms can make it key to successful growth.

Tracey Groves has worked in sustainable business practice for many years, formerly as a Partner at PwC but in more recent years heading up her own business Intelligent Ethics. While the concept of ESG has been around for many years, Tracey thinks it has become ever more critical in recent years due to increasing stakeholder activism and pressure on businesses to be seen to be making good ethical decisions, to be acting with integrity and contributing positively to the wider world.

Nor is ESG just a tick-box exercise. In this podcast, Tracey argues that firms need to act now to approach sustainability in an integrated, strategic and coherent way that reflects why business is here, to give real meaning to its purpose and what it can deliver. Rather than financial and regulatory imperatives, she says, ESG is driven by the desire for genuine improvement of society – whether that be individuals in the shape of employees and clients or wider society.

ESG focuses on how firms govern, monitor and report on the actions they conduct as businesses and covers numerous issues including human rights, diversity and inclusivity, mental wellbeing and digital/data ethics. It’s a narrative that needs to be consistent, self-validating and done in way that is authentic and aligned to business strategy, explains Tracey, adding that business needs to think of ‘being ESG’ rather than just ‘doing ESG’.

But what does this all mean for the legal sector? How can law firms leverage ESG as an opportunity for growth, to accelerate business out of the downturn and improve business, people and others in wider society?

In the podcast, Tracey explains the questions law firms need to ask of themselves, to unlock their potential and be more resilient as a business. From the right talent management and leadership development programmes to anticipating client needs, she considers how law firms can put themselves at the top table with clients for intelligent conversations on ESG that can drive innovation and accelerate growth.