The sustainability issue

| By Marese O'Hagan
As demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) and diversity directives grows, companies are looking for more ways to incorporate socially responsible business ideas. Jonna Danlund, head of sustainability at online gaming operator Betsson, speaks to iGB about how Betsson is incorporating ESG and diversity and what the wider industry can do to get involved.

Efforts to make a business diverse and inclusive are increasingly key for industry leaders. While Betsson has been a prominent supporter of the industry’s diversity initiatives – such as being a founding member of the All-In Diversity Project – its inaugural diversity and inclusion conference, which took place on 17 June, was a big leap forward.

“From a diversity point of view, this conference is of course just one way we use to spread awareness,” says head of sustainability Jonna Danlund.

She believes that a focus on raising awareness and explaining the benefits of diversity to a business is the best place to start in creating a more inclusive workplace. Most importantly, this is an ongoing process.

“The first step is awareness,” she explains. “In that context we need to recognise that awareness is not something that you do one-off.

“It’s something that you have to work with constantly all the time, so that you don’t fall back into an unconscious approach. It’s a long term approach that’s needed; it’s not something that you can do once.”

However, Danlund does not believe that eye-catching new initiatives are always the best way to enhance diversity and inclusion. Instead, she argues in favour of looking at processes already in place, and how these can be enhanced.

“I think it’s important to integrate diversity into the policies and processes we already have,” she says. Betsson does make diversity a central tenet of the business, through its Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) statement.

“But at the same time I think it’s important to integrate diversity into all processes, be it recruitment, be it the salary review, whatever within the company so that it doesn’t become a standalone thing – it’s something that’s natural, integrated.”

Sustainability

Betsson’s approach to ESG is methodical. It’s structured around five key areas: responsible gaming, business compliance, employee impact, social impact and climate impact.

“By having that kind of framework, that helps us because there are set ambitions, goals and KPIs in that framework, so we know which actions to take to reach our goals,” says Danlund.

This focus on sustainability is crucial to Betsson’s long-term success, she says. The company’s longevity is evidence of this.

“Betsson has been around since the 1960s, so we’ve been here for over half a century,” Danlund points out. “We plan to be here for many, many more years to come.

“And you can’t run a business like that long term without also having a long term approach to sustainability.”

From Danlund’s perspective, this works to uphold both integrity and the day-to-day expectations of running a business.

“The thing is, we definitely want to do good, but we also have to do good because it’s expected of us,” she continues. “We get a lot of questions about ESG – from investors and partners, from employees – so being sustainable is the right thing to do.”

“Focusing on this area is the right thing to do – but it’s also something that’s good for business.”

Into the future

While she believes the igaming industry broadly supports diversity, inclusion and ESG efforts, Danlund warns against complacency.

“I think igaming prides itself on being diverse already. And in many cases, it is,” she continues. “But we mustn’t sit back and relax.”

To avoid this, Danlund sees constant communication as an optimal way to encourage progress, specifically in sharing best practices on promoting inclusion.

“It’s very important to keep the focus on these important issues and keep sharing and discussing best practices to keep to conversation going and finding those measures that actually work.”

But integrating these concepts is a process that never truly ends. As Danlund says: “There’s always more to be done.”

Interview conducted by Ewa Bakun

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