The L.E.K. Network and The L.E.K. Sustainability Centre of Excellence (SCE) held Creating a Sustainable Impact, an eye-opening panel event that detailed the role of the SCE and the critical importance of activating sustainable strategies across industries. Partner and Vice Chair, Sustainability John Goddard spoke about the impact the SCE has had on our clients’ green initiatives and shared the results of a key piece of SCE work, the Consumer Sustainability Survey, which captured consumer behaviors across 8 product categories. To access the full report of insights and download infographics, visit: https://info.lek.com/consumer-survey.
A fascinating highlight of the event were our panelists of current and former L.E.K.ers who joined to share their insights on sustainability in their respective industries. The four panelist members were:
Kathryn Robertson Arrebola, Associate at KKR, a global private equity firm who just recently re-joined L.E.K. as a Manager in London
Barbara Calvi, currently Executive Director in Sustainable Investing & Fixed Income Investment Management at Morgan Stanley Investment Management
Winston Chen, currently Director at CleanCapital, a clean energy investment platform
Rachel Murphy, currently Gender & Sustainability Officer at Deetken Impact, a Latin America-focused impact investing fund
We sat down with panelist Kathryn Robertson Arrebola, a Manager at L.E.K. London who is dedicated to the SCE and Industrials. We discussed why she wanted to be a part of this event, the importance of sustainability in business, and why she made the jump back into L.E.K. consulting.
What is your background in sustainability and why was it important for you to be a part of this panel?
I had always had an interest in sustainability. I studied Geography in undergrad where there was a lot of theoretical focus on climate change, but I also wanted to focus on practical impact which is why I joined L.E.K. I left for a bit to get my MBA and then joined KKR as an Associate where I explored how businesses and finance can drive a sustainable impact agenda. Throughout my career, I’ve been focusing on how we can improve sustainable performance and value at the same time and how can we scale impact faster. It was important for me to be a part of the panel to share this as well as incorporate different perspectives into my views and learn how others are thinking about sustainability in their careers.
How important is ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) and sustainability becoming for businesses and boards?
It’s really becoming table stakes. It the past 5-10 years it moved from being a risk box exercise to something that’s strategic to companies and something that can be used to create real value. It would be tricky for boards not to be thinking about ESG factors in some way. I was lucky enough to have had exposure to boards at KKR that had very interesting sustainability themes and agendas. When we have board meetings, ESG factors are all on top of mind, and it’s interesting to see how boards have such an important role to play in making crucial decisions about sustainability strategies. Global asset managers like KKR have so much ability to drive impact because of the reach they have, and it was interesting to be on the inside of this.
Why did you come back into consulting?
I went into Private Equity to explore how finance can be used to drive sustainability initiatives and I focused a lot on financials and process management. While this was interesting, it’s not how I wanted to spend my day-to-day. I prefer more of the mixed bag consulting brings and I want to put more of my focus on developing people and strategic problem solving. Also, the opportunity to be a manager in the SCE is exciting and cool.
What are you hoping to achieve back at L.E.K.? What are you most excited about being back?
I’m hoping we can really build out L.E.K.’s capabilities in the sustainability space and help clients along their sustainability journey. L.E.K’s focus on sustainability will make this a great place to work where people can really bring their passion and values into their day to day job. I’m also excited about coming back to the people. It’s where I started a career and the people I’m closest to who I met at the beginning of my career are now managers and partners, so I’m excited about working with them again. L.E.K. culturally feels like home in many ways.