August 16, 2019


How Do We Get Board Room Attention For Our Corporate Sustainability Efforts? And Help Directors Understand and Support The Corporate Effort?

Those questions and more are often raised by managers trying to get the board room and C-suite attention – and support needed -- to launch or advance the company’s sustainability journey.

Here at G&A Institute our team has ongoing conversations with corporate managers about ESG / corporate sustainability and related topics.  What often comes up:  the “G” is challenging.  The questions raised include...

What metrics can we apply to show “governance progress” in our reporting?  Governance – that’s clearly a board room responsibility. What is measurable…and then reportable to be part of the ESG profile of the company?

How can we get the board’s attention to be able to keep them updated and involved in our company’s sustainability efforts? 

If we are staring out, how can we get the board’s attention to be able to help them understand the importance of corporate sustainability (we hear this from managers trying to get the program going and needing resources to be allocated).

What information does the board need to understand the whole topic area? (Corporate Sustainability / Sustainable Investing et al.)

Some answers to these and other questions are at hand in the advice from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in the form of a commentary by the organization’s associate of redefining value, Johanna Tahtinen.  She offers perspectives and advice on Ethical Corporation’s platform.

To move from “nice to have” to “need to have”, she cites a McKinsey & Company report that found that a quarter of assets under management (globally) are now invested considering ESG factors, and what was a niche practice I now large and fast-growing.  Good for the board to know.

And, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Davos meetings organizer, in its third Global Risk Report identified ESG as “clearly becoming part of the everyday business realty and well as a fiduciary duty.  Good for the board to consider.

Governance metrics are a starting point and focus area for many investors, creating expectations for companies to integrate ESG “meaningfully into governance structures, management processes and disclosure”.  Clearly in the board room list of duties and responsibilities to address.

The influential WBCSD, Johanna Tahtinen explains, recently launched a project on governance and oversight to elevate ESG-related issues to the board room by supporting stronger decision-making, risk management and business resilience.

Good governance – assuring that this a high-priority in the board room – sends strong signals to the capital markets.  How do we know that?  A study by WBCSD and accounting firm PwC shows that investors (generally) have more confidence in the information reported that governance metrics are a starting point and focus area for many investors.

The advice for managers and senior executives for communicating the importance of ESG  to the board room from WBCSD includes:

  • Integrating material ESG information into the corporate reporting processes and decision-making.
  • Use consistent and comparable standards and metrics.
  • Make sure the board of directors understands the importance of ESG. 

You’ll find details on these and more information in the Top Story.

The Top Story

From nice to have to need to have: how companies can push ESG up the boardroom agenda
Source: Ethical Corporation - Johanna Tahtinen of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development explains how boards can improve governance systems to meaningfully integrate ESG 

Sustainability Standards Setters & Policy Makers

The Sustainability Consortium's CEO reflects on its 10-year, trillion-dollar impact
Source: GreenBiz - Sustainability partnerships among corporations, nonprofits, academics and other strange bedfellows come and go. But in its 10th year, The Sustainability Consortium's work is just getting started in gathering some of the world's... 

ESG: A market challenge with a market solution
Source: Accounting Today - ESG disclosure has become mandatory in Europe and the U.K., partly because — when done effectively — it can help investors better understand the risks and opportunities embedded in their investments. 

ESG / Sustainable & Responsible Investment

The Best Performing ESG Funds - and the Worst
Source: Morningstar 

US fund managers grapple with socially responsible investing
Source: Reuters 

McKinsey: It’s time to simplify sustainable investing, which is now a $30 trillion market
Source: CNBC 

ESG Investing Isn't The Only Way To Make An Impact
Source: Forbes 

Taking sustainable investing beyond box-checking
Source: NASDAQ 

Refinitiv puts sustainability at the heart of its practices and product offering
Source: CSO Magazine 

Corporate Sustainability / ESG

Diageo uncorks £180m of green energy funding for Africa
Source: Business Green 

What the China-US trade war means for corporate sustainability
Source: Eco-Business 

Every sustainability team needs a customer-facing specialist
Source: GreenBiz

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How To Build a Better – More Sustainable! – Brand … Advice From an Adweek Commentator

As Investors Suggested Tying Executive Compensation to Progress in ESG / Sustainability – Can This Be Factored Into Today’s Corporate Pay Programs?

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G&A Institute is the Data Partner for the Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) in the USA, UK and Republic of Ireland. We identify, receive, collect, analyze, database, and communicate about every report issued in any of the 3 countries. Over the past 6+ years, G&A analyzed 7,000+ sustainability reports in this pro bono role and databased 100+ important data points for each report. Find out more @ G&A's What's A Data Partner

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