Recently, newspapers announced the formation of The Malta ESG Alliance, of which Corinthia is one of the founder members. Insider Plus contacted Joseph Restall, Senior Head-Engineering & Technical Services, Corinthia Hotels Limited, who is Corinthia’s representative on the Alliance, to ask him about the nature and aims of this Alliance.
The environmental, social and governance priorities Malta is facing have attracted several companies in the private sector to join forces and form an alliance called The Malta ESG (Alliance). First of all, who are these companies?
There are 13 founding members, including International Hotel Investments p.L.c. (IHI), namely: Alberta Group, APS Bank p.l.c., AX Group p.l.c., Bank of Valletta p.l.c., GO p.l.c., HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c., Malta Public Transport Services (Operations) Ltd, MAPFRE Middlesea p.l.c., MEDSERV Operations Ltd, Melita Ltd, PG Group p.l.c. and Toly Products Ltd. supported by EY Malta and David Xuereb Consultancy.
What made these companies take such a proactive step? How did it start? What or who was the catalyst?
There has been talk of the need to understand the state of play of Sustainable Initiatives in the private sector, especially with the introduction of environmental, social and governance (ESG) compliance. On the initiative of Perit David Xuereb, several companies were approached to understand whether there was an appetite for a common forum to advance the knowledge, benchmark best practices and shape the future by sharing goals and targets of diverse entities. The response from the 13 companies led to the formation of this Alliance. I must point out that this initiative is totally detached from any political or regulatory requirement.
Each member company has its own story, vision and challenges. Does this Alliance lead them to join hands in a joint venture, or is it an exercise of sharing different experiences to enhance standards?
The Alliance aims to promote sharing of best practices and strict measuring of achieved targets. Decarbonisation was chosen as the first goal, and each entity presented an action with a measurable target which will be evaluated after a year. The intent is to continue establishing common goals and to create a knowledge base for implementing these initiatives successfully. The idea is also to attract more members with the same ethos and aims and ensure that an ever-increasing number of local entities reach the goals set.
The environmental, social, and governance priorities are numerous, some more urgent and vital than others. I understand decarbonisation will be the first ESG theme. What exactly are this process and its ramifications? Why was it chosen as the first theme?
Decarbonisation was chosen as the first objective through a number of workshops held between the current members. This theme is wide and could easily encompass the initiatives already being implemented or pledged by the founding members. Furthermore, it is a measurable and easy-to-relate-to measure, as we have all now heard of carbon dioxide reduction when it comes to both Sustainability and Climate Change.
Is this group envisaged to grow? If in the affirmative, will the aim be to include only enterprises of a particular size?
It is definitely a major goal of the Alliance to grow as much as possible, and we hope that we will have SMEs on board who can benefit from the experience of the larger entities in this respect. We believe that each entity brings a unique perspective and challenges in implementing sustainable practices and, therefore, can enrich the Alliance and the value of its achievements.
What other projects are envisaged for the future?
We are working on more initiatives; these will be communicated regularly. However, we are still at the start, so it is early to go into more detail.
How do the members of the Alliance interact? Would there be sharing of best practices or discussions of steps to be followed to reach established aims? How do members of the Alliance benefit from the common wealth of experience of the Alliance?
The Alliance organises scheduled workshops to create a forum for discussion and sharing of results and experiences. Representatives bring forward topics for discussion, and common goals are set by which we can measure progress. The intent is to be able to go to the public with measurable and tangible achievements regularly.
Am I correct to understand that this Alliance aims to offer and share best practices not only among its members but also operate in a broader context to assist in the betterment of the ESG scenario by non-members of the Alliance? In other words, will the Alliance also serve as a showpiece to attract the proper involvement of others?
The Alliance is open to anyone sharing the same objectives, and the idea is that these would become members who can learn but also contribute to the common goals. The ESG scenario would thus change from being purely regulatory-driven to one where the business community leads proactively.
It is encouraging to see the private sector take up the cudgel and jointly work to improve ESG standards and practices. Am I correct to envisage that this Alliance would also prove to be a guiding force for the public sector?
Indeed, we hope the Alliance becomes a beacon to all other sectors and one by which public entities would be encouraged to up their game.
Does the Alliance envisage sharing of information/findings with the general public?
The Alliance will regularly publish results and update its initiatives through the media and its own website/social media.
Corinthia is a founding member of the Alliance. What particular experiences, practices and standards will we be sharing? What benefits would Corinthia reap from this Alliance?
Corinthia will be sharing its knowledge base and the initiatives being undertaken and others being planned. Corinthia will benefit through the knowledge and experience the other members will bring to the table, enabling it to fine-tune and better direct the strategy for implementation of Sustainability throughout its business.