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Why this CEO sees ESG as an ‘underpinning requirement’ of business

By Grace Ormsby
10 March 2023 | 11 minute read
Jason Pellegrino reb

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns should be front and centre of any business, given they oftentimes present as material risks, according to an industry leader.

Speaking to REB following on from Domain’s half-year financial results announcement to the ASX, Domain CEO and managing director Jason Pellegrino has revealed why ESG concerns are front and centre for the property listings and proptech giant.

In response to being asked his sentiments around the direction ESG initiatives are going and their emphasis in Domain’s most recent financial reporting, he shared that “it’s incredibly important.”

He sees ESG as having the potential to provide “a very positive force for good”, particularly when it lines up with the beliefs and requirements of employees and stakeholders more broadly.

Calling ESG considerations a “key priority and a pillar in our governance,” he went one step further, describing them as fundamentally representing an underpinning requirement of the business more broadly.

“We don’t get that right; we don’t have a business,” he conceded.

The CEO is of the belief that if a business is looking closely at ESG and focusing on implementing ESG initiatives, “they get closer to the core of the business.”

That’s when the real impact is best felt.

Mr Pellegrino shared the example of doing work around data privacy and cyber security as “part of our component around governance.”

Noting it as “critical” given the cyber security environment and some of the high-profile cases that are out there, he conceded that it was not only a business risk, “but more importantly, where we’re going with our business in our marketplace, the trust of our consumers, the trust of our customers around the transparency, the protection and the use of data is incredibly important.”

“So whilst it sits on that ESG map as a key priority and a pillar in our governance, it fundamentally is an underpinning requirement of our business,” he stressed.

Elsewhere, it’s about asking the question, “What are those things that we can actually influence and control?”

Or, as Mr Pellegrino also put it, “What are the things that we can help with?”

“If I look from a social perspective, we do a lot of work on diversity and inclusion within our industry and outside of our industry within our teams,” he said, pointing out the events around Sydney recently for World Pride as “wonderful to see”.

Beyond that, the CEO said there are many other considerations that Domain can look at which will have a broader and more positive impact on the ecosystem.

Pointing out housing affordability (under the social consideration) as a challenge that is getting tougher, Mr Pellegrino conceded that Domain alone “cannot fix that.”

“But our data and our research, our insights, our technology platforms are increasingly helping governments understand the problem in a level of detail they need to and design policy settings to actually start working towards or start addressing that affordability challenge.”

Late last year, REB posted an op-ed from Forbury’s Peter Rose, who queried, “Will 2023 be the year Australian property players are forced to start factoring ESG considerations into their every decision?

Mr Pellegrino’s comments also follow the findings from a 2022 study from KPMG, which found that less than half of Australia’s corporate leaders believe they will have implemented the operational changes needed to meet ESG targets before 2030

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Grace Ormsby

Grace Ormsby

Grace is a journalist across Momentum property and investment brands. Grace joined Momentum Media in 2018, bringing with her a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) from the University of Newcastle. She’s passionate about delivering easy to digest information and content relevant to her key audiences and stakeholders.

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