The gaming industry embraces ESG compliance: Insights from Reuben Portanier

Shirley Pulis Xerxen 5 months ago
The gaming industry embraces ESG compliance: Insights from Reuben Portanier

In light of recent developments, namely the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) at EU level and the voluntary Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Code of Good Practice for the remote gaming sector published by the MGA, SiGMA News discussed the significance of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) compliance within the gaming industry with Reuben Portanier, Partner Advisory & Compliance GTG and former CEO of the MGA, Malta’s gaming regulator.

Need for increased awareness

Portanier emphasised the lack of awareness among clients regarding the impact of ESG and the CSRD. He revealed that many clients mistakenly believed they were not subject to ESG regulations, leading to a need for increased awareness.

Reuben Portanier ESG Compliance
Reuben Portanier, Partner Advisory & Compliance GTG.

Addressing the motivation behind companies embracing ESG, SiGMA News asked whether organisations would adopt it as a burden or recognise its business sense. Portanier acknowledged the complexity of this question, suggesting that profit-driven entities might perceive it as a burden, while visionaries within the industry would view it as an investment in the future. Portanier added that the gaming industry has the basis of ESG by due to the highly regulated environment it operates in. He added that, unwittingly or by default, most operators already have several ESG measures in place.

The discussion then shifted to the broader impact of ESG on consumer behaviour. Portanier noted that companies with a forward-thinking strategy consider the long-term effects of their business decisions, anticipating how customers will perceive them in 5-10 years. He cited examples in the cosmetics sector where companies actively promote their environmental and ethical practices, influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Just a marketing ploy?

Asked whether there was genuine value in ESG beyond being a marketing strategy, Portanier asserted that while there might be immediate PR benefits, the long-term value is determined by increased sales. He emphasised the importance of ESG to maximise investments, influencing consumer behaviour and creating a positive image for the company.

The conversation then touched upon the paradox in implementing ESG, where smaller companies (visionaries) may lack the financial means to adopt ESG practices, while larger companies face challenges due to their size. Portanier suggested that larger companies, despite their difficulty in changing, are compelled to do so by legislation, driving a faster pace of change.

The interview concluded with a focus on the gaming sector’s perception and the role of ESG in altering it. Portanier highlighted the negative perception of the industry, fuelled by public outcry and political reactions. He argued that ESG provides an opportunity for the gaming sector to demonstrate responsible practices and shift public perception positively.

The discussion emphasised the gaming industry’s journey towards ESG compliance, recognising it as not just a regulatory requirement but a strategic move to shape a positive image and foster long-term sustainability.

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