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IRM's new Environmental & Social Governance (ESG) SIG to be headed up by Anita Punwani, CFIRM

Anita Punwani CFIRM has been appointed Chair of our new Environmental & Social Governance (ESG) SIG. Her passion is to promote the role of risk management in ESG and contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She is a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and the United Nations Association-UK. 

Anita has been a member of the IRM since 1998.  During her time as Deputy Chair & Non-Executive Board Director, she was interviewed by the BBC & CNBC to raise public awareness of risk management during the pandemic. She has represented the institute at the British Standards Institution, Chartered Governance Institute, IoD India, Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India. As Chair of BSI’s governance committee, she represented the UK, as well as the IRM, as an ‘expert’ in the development of the new international governance standard, ISO 37000. 

A qualified professional with over 30 years’ experience spanning the not-for-profit, private and public sectors, Anita facilitates teams to work collaboratively in order to ensure the delivery of successful outcomes for the benefit of society.  She advised senior UK government officials on the legacy benefits and adequacy of the £9.3 billion investment in the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games as well as the delivery of a £21.5 billion cross-departmental HM Treasury efficiency programme.  Child safeguarding has been an important aspect of her work both in the public and not-for-profit sectors.

We asked Anita to share her thoughts on a few questions relating to the future of the group, here's what she said.

Why should risk professionals take ESG seriously? 

Our Chair, Stephen Sidebottom, made reference to the new ESG SIG at the IRM 2021 AGM. The importance of Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) is now recognised by organisations operating in the private, not-for-profit and public sectors. 

The pandemic has illustrated all too clearly why all types of organisation have a social responsibility to play their part in handling issues which affect people across the world.  In some organisations, this will require organisational change notably by reframing risk management to be viewed as integral to ESG.

What are your plans for the group under your leadership?

The team we have formed to lead the ESG SIG are all experts in their fields and share a passion for placing the risk profession at the heart of ESG.  Our plans for the group include organising events, sharing ESG expertise and working with leading experts as well as professional and academic institutions to ensure the IRM is a thought-leader in the field of ESG. This is a theme I will develop with committee members - check out their respective passions and profiles on our webpage here.

Why should risk professionals join the IRM ESG SIG community?

The ESG SIG community is open to professionals working in every sector and part of the world – the events we are organising will provide a forum for the international risk community to share knowledge and experience on ESG matters. The term ESG is regularly being used in the risk community without clarity on what it actually is, what the key drivers are and why enterprises should be 'ESG-intelligent'.  We will provide answers to these question starting with the changing nature of the social context. 

Please check out our forthcoming event on Tuesday 15th February which will provide you with an international perspective on Environmental and Social Governance - we have the following stellar panel of speakers addressing this topic, followed by a Q&A session during which you can pose your questions: 

  • Vasuki Shastry, Associate Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme, The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), 'Changes in the social context and the impact this is having on organisations in relation to ESG'.
  • Hannah Wood, Climate & Environment Director, UBS Optimus Foundation, 'The role of philanthropy in driving change in ESG'. 
  • Alex Hindson CFIRM, Chief Risk & Sustainability Officer at Argo Group; Former IRM Chair & Non-Executive Board Director, 'ESG through the risk mirror – setting a risk-based ESG strategy for an ‘ESG-Intelligent’ organisation'.
  • Paloma Baena Olabe, Founder & Chair, Sustainability Hub. Former Director of Governance, Save the Children International. Former Deputy Division Chief, Public Governance Directorate, OEDC. Professor, IE School of Global & Public Affairs, 'Social Impact – from ESG to purpose-driven organisations.’

 You can register on our webpage and please do get in touch if you have any questions.  



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