February 16, 2022
Mishandling of personal data could come at a great cost for both firms and investors who fail to engage on the subject.
This is one of the takeaways from a report published by the Investors for a Sustainable Digital Economy (ISDE), which was launched in February and brought together firms such as Baillie Gifford, Ethos Foundation, Sands Capital and Zouk Foundation.
Its goal is to understand what a more ethical digital world would look like and translate existing best practices into investor-friendly tools for engagement. ISDE published its first report focusing on risks of mishandling personal data last Thursday.
The public debate around digital ethics has mainly concerned big tech, but Bess Joffe, head of responsible investment at Church Commissioners for England, said the issue is pervasive, systematic and portfolio-wide.
‘If you look on your phone, every company that you interact with now is an app. So almost every company in our holdings is at least partially a technology company.
‘And I think we have to start coming to terms with the fact that maybe the questions that we’ve been asking for directors for the last 15 years need to get better and more specific on these issues. Because the risks are incredibly high,’ she said at a roundtable event held on 10 February to discuss the report.