HESTA impact head quits to set up ESG consultancy

Former head of impact at HESTA, Mary Delahunty, has left the superannuation fund after almost a decade to set up her consultancy firm. 

Delahunty, who worked at HESTA for over nine years, had set up Seven Advisory to address a “lack of authenticity, action and accountability in business”. 

This had been highlighted by issues such as the destruction of the Juukan Gorge by Rio Tinto and its ban on Traditional Owners speaking publicly about the matter.

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She said: “There are countless examples in companies where the saying and the doing don’t match- whether it’s proclaiming to progress gender equality while cloaking sexual discrimination in non-disclosure agreements or committing to a net zero pathway while simultaneously funding lobbying efforts for more coal mines- stakeholders will recognize this and punish it”.

It was crucial, she said, for businesses to be held to account and to be honest with stakeholders.

“Stakeholders understand that change takes time, but they want to see the steps companies are taking. They won’t accept hollow words from brands especially when they see the brand as an extension of their own values,” she said.

“Beyond a risk focus, beyond what companies say they ‘won’t’ do or ‘won’t’ invest in towards what they ‘are’ doing in every aspect of their business. It’s uncomfortable for chief executives and boards to hold a mirror, but’s crucial for long term value.”

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