Activist investors with a sharp focus on financial return are a familiar feature of the landscape for all quoted Boards. But going beyond this, the rise in the importance of ESG factors - including the increasing urgency of action on carbon emissions - has caused the recent emergence of ESG activism. Though ESG activists share some aspects of “plain vanilla” activism, there are crucial differences of which Boards need to be aware in order to remain on the front foot. Given the complexity of the subject matter, as well as the different styles of approach adopted by ESG activists, Boards at times underestimate or struggle to prepare for this challenge to their leadership. As such Fidelio was pleased to co-host a virtual Roundtable entitled ‘ESG Activism and the Board’, in which Cas Sydorowitz, Global Head of Georgeson, as well as Gillian Karran-Cumberlege and Stephen Cheetham of Fidelio, explored what ESG activism means for those sitting on listed Boards. Key themes included:
ESG vs “Plain Vanilla” activists – what’s the difference?
The investment industry, passive funds, proxy advisors - how ESG cuts across siloes and is creating a significant opportunity across the investment eco-system
The scale and range of ESG activism - including recent notable ESG campaigns
Practical takeaways for the Board, including:
ESG competence in the Boardroom
The rules of expectation management and ESG
Why the Board should care deeply about reporting and above all the clarity and quality of communication
To view Fidelio's presentation from the 'ESG Activism & The Board’ Roundtable, please click here.