ESG trends & the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

The ESG trends arising & accelerating as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic: Highlights from our panel event


On 9th March 2021, Hanson Search and FTI Consulting teamed up to host a webinar discussing the impact of COVID-19 on all things related to environmental, social and governance. Together with our panel of industry experts we discussed the trends arising (or accelerating) as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and shared the global mitigation measures they think will play out over the course of the year, affecting the longer-term landscape.

The last 12 months have raised many important, but conflicting, questions - if we can drastically change our behaviour to fight a viral pandemic, can we also do so to avert a climate disaster? Alternatively, will we now be more focused on simply putting food on the table and getting through the recession?

The crisis has undoubtedly underscored the relevance of ESG considerations to company performance and investment returns. While we expect this will continue to influence corporate and investor actions going forward, there remains a debate around the extent to which the pandemic will ultimately strengthen sustainability commitments.  

Katie Simpson, Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Hanson Search, chaired the event featuring:

  • Helen Nowicka, UK Head of Sustainability, FTI Consulting
  • Charlene Cranny, Former Communications Director at UKSIF
  • Claudine Blamey, Head of Sustainability & Digital Strategy, Argent LLP
  • Betsy Reed, Social & Environmental Sustainability Advisor, Author, Speaker, Podcast host, Fellow of the RSA (FRSA)


In our discussion we explored the following:

  • An overview of key trends in E, S and G in 2021
  • How COVID-19 has amplified ESG awareness and expectations among investors, public policy makers and consumers
  • How ESG investment is accelerating, pushing investor demand for enhanced ESG-related disclosure and data
  • How 2020 has seen increased focus on the 'S' - i.e. social factors, including workplace safety and customer engagement
  • The regulatory requirements and societal concerns that are driving increased corporate and investor action on climate change, and the importance of COP26 for UK PLC
  • Recommendations for corporations on ways to effectively evolve their ESG approach


For more highlights and top tips from the discussion, feel free to view here:

Hanson Search has recently launched Sustainability and Social Impact practice to support both in-house and agency clients with their growing need for expert talent in this market as well as to and help advise on recruitment strategies for hiring in corporate communications, sustainability and impactful purpose-led campaigns. Find out more here.

Thursday 27th January 2022: Britain 2022 - The year ahead in politics

Hanson Search brought a panel of experts together for our annual webinar looking at the year ahead in politics. Watch back the recording for the key...

Read more

Tuesday 2nd November 2021: Building Powerful Teams: Trust

On 2nd November Hanson Search hosted the second part of the series in partnership with Formative Communications, focusing on Trust.

Read more

Thursday 14th October 2021: Representation, recruitment & retention of black and ethnic minorities in PR and communications

Hanson Search hosted a panel event for both employers and candidates to help professionals from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who are often...

Read more

Tuesday 14th September 2021: Building Powerful Teams: Fairness

Hanson Search is hosting a three-part webinar series in partnership with Formative Communications, delving into the principles behind Building...

Read more

Article: Leadership Lessons with...Louisa Fyans, Director of Communications, the Football Association

Louisa shared her thoughts on the importance of employee wellbeing in the workplace and the key qualities needed to...

Read more

Article: Hanson Search Internship Experience: Oliver Geddes, Research Intern

Our Research Intern Oliver Geddes, who recently completed a 6-week internship program at Hanson Search, shared his...

Read more

Speak to a consultant