October 18, 2021
Organised by the Family Business Network (FBN), this conference, held in conjunction with the seventh World Investment Forum, includes thematic partnership sessions that address key and emerging issues for the family business community, identify strategies, and highlight innovative approaches to ensure impact and a sustainable future across generations. Thus, the family office has become a significant platform for investment and education for families to reinvent themselves and transmit value and assets through generations as they think and act beyond their legacy businesses. As a result, business models that impact the traditional bottom line and are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be transformed through family offices. Family offices can also play a game-changing role in reshaping company models to achieve SDG aligned benefits beyond the usual bottom line.
The discussions underscored how a family office’s ability to manage assets is contingent on the underlying family. The Panellist noted that approximately 20 percent of assets under management are broadly aligned with the objectives indicated, and 95 perecent of institutional investors intend to engage with enterprises engaged in activity related to sustainable development goals.
The Panellists acknowledged the United Nations’ call to action on climate change and sustainable development and expressed hope that both parties could deliver investment returns consistent with their long term financial objectives while also promoting a more prosperous future for people and the planet. Thus, it was emphasised the importance of an investment focused strategy in view of the world’s disruption and the interrelated and accelerating factors affecting organisations today.
Disruptions such as climate change, rising inequality, and resource scarcity can all be grouped under Environmental Social Governance (ESG). Discussion among the Panellists shifted to classic internal combustion engine automakers as a source of both positive and negative consequences in terms of the positive green and negative red impacts.
Larry Fink, a Blackrock executive, was cited by a Panellist as saying that “the climate risk is an investment risk” because of the company’s failure to meet ESG objectives. In addition to negatively impacting the company’s reputation, this action will also make it more difficult for the business to attract and retain top talent.
Panellists emphasised the importance of family and family offices aligning and agreeing on what is necessary to have the best strategy and mission statement. While the alignment of family enterprises may be a disadvantage, another Panellist disagreed, stating that they still have an advantage in that they are still the most trusted kind of organisation. As a result, when family businesses start to look beyond their roots, it’s critical to maintain alignment across generations.
On the panel were:
- Alex Scott, Founder, Applerigg
- Peter Englisch, Global Family Business Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers
- Tom Beagent, PricewaterhouseCoopers
- Manish Tibrewal, CEO, Maitri
- Benjamin Firmenich, Executive Director, Impact Finance
- Peter Brock, Investment Director, 4L Vision GmbH
- Alexis du Roy de Blicquy, CEO, Family Business Network