COA Symposium: Environmental, Social, and Governance Standards as Drivers of Recovery

While ESG considerations have become commonplace for companies, a lack of standards is inhibiting their full potential for social change, explained the panel of public and private sector experts.


  • Suzanne Di Bianca, EVP Corporate Relations and Chief Impact Officer, Salesforce
  • Juan Carlos Mora, CEO, Bancolombia
  • Savita Subramanian, Head of U.S. Equity Strategy and U.S. Quantitative Strategy, Bank of America
  • Alexandre Meira da Rosa, Chief Strategy Officer, IDB Invest (moderator)
  • Maria L. Gallo, Vice President, AS/COA Miami (chair)

“I really believe the investment community has made this conversation a mainstream one,” said Suzanne Di Bianca of Salesforce on the widespread adoption of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards across the public and private sectors in a BRAVO Symposium panel. What was once the providence of development banks is now common practice across the private sector, with 90 percent of investors in Latin American considering ESG in their work, according to a survey presented by Savita Subramanian. There is potential for these standards to contribute to widespread social change, and, as Di Bianca noted, meaningful ESG work is also helping companies attract and retain top employees.

ESG work can take a variety of forms, including action on financial inclusion, gender equity, digitization, regional integration, and community building. The speakers highlighted sustainability and carbon reduction as areas where ESG work has helped create regular and meaningful climate action. Juan Carlos Mora of Bancolombia summarized ESG as something that ultimately gives your company a "social license to operate.”

Speakers identified universally recognized standards for measuring and assessing ESG practices—which don't exist at the moment—as a potential tool that could help companies sharpen their social impact practices. Speakers also talked about how there are a wide range of organizations and companies that have built data sets to track and grade ESG impact. Di Bianca predicted that these companies would soon consolidate around best practices and this could advance ESG best practices and honor genuine commitments to ESG goals by companies.