In Conversation with André Lacroix
“There is no question that the movement of our time is sustainability. We all have a responsibility and, we at Intertek, can play a major role by helping our clients address their sustainability issues.”
Chief Executive Officer
André Lacroix, Chief Executive Officer of Intertek Group plc, interviewed by ESG Journalist, Henry Ker regarding the launch of Intertek's new Total Sustainability Assurance.
Hello André, great to talk to you to you today. Yesterday you announced that Intertek is launching a new assurance certification standard, ‘Intertek Total Sustainability Assurance’.
Can you talk us through the background to this exciting development?
There is no question that the movement of our time is sustainability. The young generation is very loud and clear, we’ve got to do something and save the future of our planet. We all have a responsibility when it comes to sustainability. We at Intertek can play a major role by helping our clients address their sustainability challenges. But today, talking to our clients, they realise that they need us to do much more when it comes to sustainability. A lot of our clients are working hard, you know, improving their disclosures, trying to convince their colleagues that it’s important to think of the community, to have the right governance. But today, they realise they need to do much more than that. As a matter of fact, 90% of our clients believe that if there would be an audit today of their sustainability operations, their rating would not be the best. So listening to our clients we have decided to launch a certification programme that is, if you want, an end-to-end assurance initiative to look at all aspects of sustainability in every corporation, and building on the great knowledge we have of our clients’ operations and helping them address this very complex challenge. So this is what it is, it’s a ground-breaking innovation to address the concern of our time and help our clients resolve their sustainability challenges.
This is a first for the market; how will the new standard work and what sets it apart from other assurance offerings?
What’s really interesting is that our clients - and we work with 300,000 corporations around the world – are really committed to demonstrate their sustainable performance. The approach they have taken so far has been very much at the operational level, making sure that the CO² footprint of the factory is operating according to acceptable standards. But they’ve realised that sustainability is much more than ESG and based on our deep understanding of all corporations around the world we have developed an end-to-end approach that covers 10 aspects of corporate sustainability – it talks about risks, it talks about governance, it talks about financial management, it talks about people, culture. We also look at security. But in addition to that they’ve got a corporate assurance programme that Intertek will develop for them to give them the peace of mind that from a corporate standpoint they’re really looking at total corporate sustainability. It’s so important that our clients today go beyond ESG and say you know what, from a sustainability standpoint, we are end-to-end.
That’s great, and of course Intertek has a long history in the assurance industry. Beyond the standard itself, what is it that makes you confident that Total Sustainability Assurance will be a success?
We’ve been in the quality assurance industry for more than 130 years. Some of our founding fathers are heroes in multiple countries around the world. Over the years we have attracted and retained the best talent when it comes to technical expertise. And there is one thing that unites us inside Intertek – we’re here to bring to quality and safety to life, helping our clients address their quality, safety and sustainability concerns. What makes me 100% sure that we’re going to do a great job for our clients is because all colleagues are truly passionate about making the world ever better. Our subject matter experts, our TQA experts are going to be the ones that will make our sustainable solutions a big success.
Great, now let’s talk about the future. What impact will the new standard have, on both the future of Intertek and on the assurance industry?
Look, sustainability is a journey, the world is not static, it moves on every single day, the complexity of our world has got really, really huge over the years. What’s really important is for clients and for Intertek to be truly committed, this is the movement of our time. We are here to make the world ever better and an inch at a time we can make a huge difference. Can you imagine 44,000 colleagues around 100 countries working with 300,000 clients talking to millions of colleagues and friends and family inspiring the world to take sustainability seriously. That’s going to be a legacy that’s going to make us proud for many decades to go.
Thank you André.