09 November

Founders and ESG journey

Building a start-up with 20 years of corporate experience and witness moving ESG from back office to boardroom


Our Co-Founder and CEO Adrian Peyer reflecting on “Sustainability Through Purpose”

This blog post is an abridged and edited version of the podcast interview with the same title, which can be found here.

There were two developments in 2019 that started off impactvise.

The first one was working from home during the pandemic. I was working at a very large, multinational insurance company in the legal department at that time. We had so many legal questions to answer within the business. And I was sitting at home, doing all this work with my colleagues and I thought, what is happening with the small and medium enterprise? How are they dealing with all these legal questions? And even here in Switzerland, where we are based, there were so many new regulation every day. How do you deal with these questions, if you don't have an in-house lawyer, or you can afford an external counsel.

So I had this idea of setting up, a webpage called legal solidarity. I got about 18 to 20 Swiss law firms to provide free legal advice to people in need based on COVID. I also then reached out to some of the large law firms globally and set up the legal solidarity on a global basis with three to five global law firms.

For me that was to see, that lawyers are key in crisis situation. And secondly, for me personally, I saw that I can implement an idea into a project that actually works. Additionally, I was the company secretary of a large multinational insurance company where I saw first hand over the years the rising importance of ESG and how it evolved to a strategic topic. It moved from the back office into the Boardroom. The discussions centered on how you incorporate sustainability into your company strategy. As a lawyer and responsible at the time for selecting law firms, I was evaluating the levers to contribute to the company strategy and asked myself, how can I support the company's sustainability strategy? One action that I think as a General Counsel you can take is reviewing with whom do you work together. Are the law firms you work with aligned with the values and the strategy of your own company? When I constituted the global panel of law firms, I not only asked them about the skills and fees, but also about their ESG performance. So not how they’re giving advice, but what are they doing themselves as a business organization? How are they contributing to this journey? 

I was surprised that the answers I got from the set were not really comparable and hard to digest. That was the time the idea was formed to build a tool or solution that helps in-house General Cousels to compare law firms on what they do on ESG. 

This was the starting point of impactvise. 


Stay tuned: In our next blog, we will have a closer look at purpose building and definining what you’re standing for and walk your ESG talk.