Why Inclusion Underpins ESG

11 Jan 2022
5 min read

I realise that mantras or philosophical phrases can seem a bit twee. But as a self-confessed ‘Rebel in a Suit’, I believe we are living in a time where breaking tradition in the pursuit of positive change forges a more inclusive path of success for us all.

Life’s journey is not easy, but the scars you earn along the way are a powerful reminder of what it takes to build resilience and grit toward success, whatever success means to you. For me, success has always been about helping both leaders and organisations to maximise their potential, regardless of any differences that they may have.

As a black man born in the UK, the feeling of not being seen as a positive inclusion within society made it easier to adopt the narrative that transformational achievement and global impact were a distant dream and that any form of success was a bonus. Unfortunately, for many years, that narrative played out for me both personally and professionally.

But being aware of the power of my one’s own differences enabled me to consider how I can make a difference in the lives and businesses of others. My genuine desire to help others to be better and do better in the most inclusive way that they can has always led me towards taking equitable action whilst enriching my learning about people and business.

But I have not always got it right.

I know what it is like to start business ventures or lead others within an organisation with all the hope and passion you can muster, and having to face the reality of it all going wrong and affecting those most important to you. But I also know what it feels like to see the joy on those same faces when you make the decision to keep embracing the lessons of failure that you do not wish to be taught and see your simple idea manifest into something that changes their lives and the lives of so many others!

One thing that has always served me well, is the belief that inclusion is not about separating support and serving needs based on difference. It is about providing an environment and resources where each difference can be embraced and therefore shape the collective need – a place where fresh ideas, diverse thinking, and challenging solutions can be integrated to unlock a new normal where everyone can access the support they need, regardless of any differences they may have.

I believe that the power of ESG gives us all an inclusive lens that is already shaping new inclusive mindsets and approaches to adding value, enabling active leaders to nurture:

● How they demonstrate added value to all the ecosystems that they inhabit and have an impact upon.
● New intelligence to help increase their contribution to business and society.
● How we assess the governance and financial economics that can underpin decision- making and a renewed appetite for sustainable risk.

In my experience, traditional cultures, biased conditioning, and in some cases, a discriminatory lack of interest enable some to ignore the wind of change. But ignorance is never bliss because one always knows what is truly right or wrong and the wind of change will blow, no matter how tightly you wrap yourself up within your coat of contentment.

The reality is that times are always changing, and as leaders in business we must change

The global pandemic taught us all that change is constant, and in many cases, enforced. In addition, the continued effects of economic turmoil, geo-political attacks, and the future impact of negative climate change are shaping a new world.

As the Founder of GFA Exchange, I find myself leading at the convergence of three worlds – Inclusion, Data Technology, and Finance in one of the most disruptive and uncertain times in history.

This gives me a unique leadership perspective on how to tackle financial inclusion for businesses as part of ESG strategy and objectives, rooted in the consciousness of real-life needs, commercial growth, and social value. I enjoy collaborating with leaders who seek an authentic and data-driven approach to support and are dedicated to positive change.

If this sounds like you, why not get in touch?