Patsy Doerr, Global head of corporate responsibility, sustainability and inclusion, Thomson Reuters
Please give us a bit of background on yourself, and how your organisation plays a leadership role in the impact investing space.
I am the global head of Corporate Responsibility & Inclusion at Thomson Reuters, overseeing the company’s corporate social responsibility, diversity & inclusion and sustainability functions. My background is in talent, learning, organisational development, diversity and inclusion, employee recognition and customer engagement, mainly at investment banks and have held a number of global leadership roles at JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse.
Thomson Reuters is a data, information, media and technology company. We provide curated packaged data to help companies make decisions around impact investing and one of the main areas we’re seeing increased demand from our customers is for more ESG data. One specific product that has been getting a lot of attention recently is our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Index which ranks the top 100 publicly traded companies globally with the most diverse and inclusive workplaces, as measured by 24 metrics across four key categories: Diversity, Inclusion, People Development and News Controversies.
How well are companies adapting to the mainstreaming of purpose-driven finance?
There has been a surge over the last two years in this space. ESG investing is now mainstream and that is creating significant opportunities for investors and a whole new economic upside. Money makes an impact and it is natural that trends will follow where the money goes. Buy-in from the top has been key and many companies are driving the momentum forward.
What ways is impact investing making headway, and where is it lagging?
The world is undergoing a shift. Over the next forty years there will be a massive $58.7tn wealth transfer to women and millennials, a generational transfer larger than any prior in economic history. This is significant because these groups, along with a growing group of positive investors, prioritise dedicating time and capital towards a sustainable future, and are increasingly recognising impact finance as an essential pathway to get there .
This ‘Triple Revolution’ is putting pressure on companies and investors to make impact investing a priority.
I think we were lagging a few years ago in terms of getting buy-in from the top. That is no longer the case.
What challenges do you see for the future of purpose-driven finance?
The challenge is now is taking action. I believe the business case is there and justified. The C-suite and executive boards have now bought in so the final piece in the puzzle is taking action. There is tremendous potential here for companies that are ahead of the curve and can begin servicing these needs immediately.
How has impact and ESG-oriented investing evolved in recent years?
Trusted data is essential to getting the right information into the hands of investors. We are now seeing more and more companies making their ESG data publicly available. In some places this is becoming a requirement to do business and more and more customers are requesting this information in RFPs. etc. With this data becoming more prevalent, investors have the ability to be highly selective in the companies they choose to do business with. With an eye on long-term value creation, this is essential.
What will you be discussing at The Economist's Impact Investing event in London on June 15th?
All of the above and more as part of the ‘Impacting Big Business’ session.