The Search for ESG

Recently there has been substantial coverage about the future of ESG but also about the dearth of ESG expertise at both Board and executive level.

The Ascendency of ESG?

There is without a doubt tremendous complexity facing Boards and we would argue that the adoption of ESG which, after moving quite slowly for many years, has picked up at an extraordinary pace in the last 24 months.

From Fidelio’s Search perspective we are not as gloomy as many commentators. All the Board and Executive Searches that we have delivered this year have had a strong ESG component demonstrating Chair recognition of the importance of ESG, as well as a pipeline of candidates. This is also true at executive level where we are seeing significant interest in building ESG capability both in terms of the dedicated Chief Sustainability Officer role, but also with ESG forming an important component of the other key executive roles including CFO, Head of Treasury, IR Director and Chief Strategy Officer.

Does this mean there is a cadre of ESG specialists who are ready-baked and prepared to lead on ESG in the Boardroom?  Not necessarily but Fidelio sees evidence, and indeed has established a strong pipeline, of senior executives and Directors who are able to bring the stakeholder perspective to the Board top table discussion and increasingly also have highly relevant technical skills.

The ESG Pipeline

Given the importance of this pipeline of ESG competence and commitment, in this Overture Fidelio explores:

  • The ESG Mindset – openness to learning and ability to bring different perspectives and to work cross-silo
  • Technical Skills & the Boardroom – understanding how to provide Board oversight and direction to the E (environmental factors), the S (societal factors), and the G (governance)
  • The ESG Pipeline – the Chief Sustainability Officer; tomorrow’s Board Director

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Fidelio firmly believes that the allocation of capital is a very powerful tool to shape the society that we want. Whether this formally carries an ESG label or not, Boards and companies absolutely need to understand shareholder and stakeholder expectations of a better future. To meet those expectations ESG experience will be required at Board and Executive level. From Fidelio’s recent assignments both in Search and Evaluation we see:

  1. A keen Board interest in ESG and embedding ESG into the work of the Board
  2. A strong supply of good candidates who can contribute meaningfully to the Board discussion – and obligations – regarding ESG.

For further information on how Fidelio can support your Board in building ESG capability, through Search, Evaluation and Development, please contact Mark at mcumberlege@fideliopartners.com.

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