The ESG Imperative: Board Implications

From being peripheral to many companies’ strategy and operations, Environmental, Social and Governance factors have now moved centre stage.  The Covid-19 epidemic and its associated social restrictions have only increased the importance of ESG against a backdrop of what may prove to be a recession on similar scale to that of the 1930’s.

Through our Board Evaluation and Search assignments, it is clear to Fidelio that ESG is becoming central to our clients. We were therefore recently delighted to host a webinar on “The ESG Imperative: Board Implications” with a panel of leading Chairs:

  • Mike Clasper CBE, Chairman, Coats plc; Chairman, SSP Group plc; Chairman, Bioss
  • Pauline van der Meer Mohr, Remuneration Committee Chair and Non-Executive Director, HSBC Holdings plc; Chair, Dutch Corporate Governance Code Monitoring Committee; Deputy Chair, DSM NV Supervisory Board
  • Sir Peter Gershon, Chairman, National Grid plc; Chairman, the Dreadnought Alliance; Chairman, Join Dementia Research

Our panellists brought first-hand experience, combined with Fidelio’s insights, into the very real implications and demands that ESG makes on Boards. They addressed the following questions:

  1. As a Chair how are you preparing your Boards & Committees for the shift to stakeholder primacy / ESG?
  2. What are your specific ESG Board learnings from the COVID 19 Pandemic?

The responses to these questions and ensuing debate with the webinar audience comprising Chairs and Directors from around the globe prompted a wide-ranging discussion, flagging both the urgency of ESG for Boards, and its complexity. The key learnings were grouped under:

  1. The Stakeholder Imperative
  2. Measuring and Investing in ESG
  3. Board Composition and Effectiveness
  4. Education and Social Mobility
  5. ESG Brings Conflicting Agendas
  6. Covid-19 and Its Impact on the ESG Agenda

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