Companies’ priorities are rooted in the culture of their times. The East India Company, for example, systematically asset-stripped the Indian subcontinent for more than 200 years — and was largely celebrated by its shareholders as a roaring success. Now we look back in horror at the bloodshed, slavery, drug money, corruption, and exploitation that were its daily currency, and we note that today’s leading companies (hopefully) have strikingly different definitions of success.

Today, most people would argue that successful companies are not just financially sound, but must also be socially responsible and environmentally sustainable, which can be assessed with various…


Solar energy field in Pinzberg, Germany. Credit: Markus Spiske.

Sustainability and environmental, social, and governance investing used to be the buzzwords of activists. Today, c-suite executives and boards of corporations and financial firms are struggling to come to grips with these terms and the issues around ESG. Firms have an inkling that change in the investment world is afoot, but many have not yet realized that the forces driving ESG will soon force fundamental changes to their business.

We recently gathered the voices of experienced industry leaders as well as high-level academics in a new book that reflects on the current state and future direction of sustainable investing. The…


Neither military power nor wealth can stop the destructive global spread of COVID-19, a tiny member of the Coronavirus family. Its full human impact and economic cost will not be known for months to come. The virus is only now spreading amongst the most vulnerable populations, the millions who are cramped into refugee camps, and the hundreds of millions who live in city slums or in poverty without proper sanitation or medical support. As the pandemic is unfolding, it is revealing human vulnerabilities and showcasing the importance of good leadership and well-functioning, universal social and health care systems.

While the…


The modern corporate sustainability movement started in the late 1990s, in the wake of globalization debates and the Battle of Seattle. Since then it has grown and matured enormously. Investors are beginning to realize that the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors can enhance performance. We are now at the brink of an inflection point where market-led changes will accelerate a massive transformation towards cleaner, healthier and socially more inclusive outcomes. …


The $2.5 trillion fashion and apparel industry is an economic heavyweight. One of the largest consumer industries, it employs over 60 million people along its global value chain. For many emerging markets it is a stepping stone out of poverty with women making up over 70% of the supply chain.

Consumers in the developed world have become used to fast fashion and cheap clothes as a throw-away commodity that mostly ends up in landfills. And the trend towards ever shorter life cycles of apparel does not yet seem to have plateaued. The average consumer today purchases 60% more clothing than…


Georg Kell, Chairman of Arabesque and Founding Director of the UN Global Compact.

Society is rewriting the rules around what being a ‘responsible company’ means. How do you go from a resource taker to a market builder and still generate value?

Political upheaval, technological disruption and environmental constraints are making the business environment more complex and less predictable than ever before, posing new challenges for strategic orientation and decision-making. Underpinning these developments are long-term trends — often unfolding in small but cumulative increments — that are reshaping the business environment and the role of business in society.

Recognising these trends…


Barbara Krumsiek, Senior Fellow, Georgetown Women’s Leadership Institute, and Arabesque Board member.

Picture by Ales Krivec.

I have my own definitions for three key words in this question — “we”, “there”, “yet”. …


Big data. Photo by Jingyi Wang.

Today, we live in a globalised and digitised world where information is generated and flows at unprecedented levels. Consider the numbers: within the next hour alone, we will generate 21.6 million tweets, 8.5 billion emails, 34,200 new websites, and 144 million Google searches. Ours is an age where data shapes almost every aspect of our lives. Through rapid advancements in technology, big data has disrupted entire industries, influencing how we work, how we consume, and how we view the world.

The term ‘big data’ refers to collections of data sets that are enormous and complex, and as such defy attempts…

Arabesque

A global group of financial technology companies offering sustainable investment, advisory, and data services through our advanced ESG and AI capabilities.

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