An increasing number of institutional investors, employees, and consumers are expressing interest in ESG (environmental, social, and governance) factors. President Biden has made tackling climate change an administration priority, and the pandemic and widespread racial justice movements have helped push social issues into the spotlight. Boards–and even individual directors–are facing heightened scrutiny on how they oversee ESG, with some institutional investors announcing that they will withhold votes for directors based on a company’s perceived ESG shortcomings. ESG impacts, risks, and opportunities can be difficult and costly to track, measure, and compare across
industries, and an alphabet soup of reporting standards, frameworks and protocols further complicate the ESG disclosure process. With the term ESG embodying so many potential issues, where should boards focus their attention? What concrete steps should companies take to advance their ESG agendas in a meaningful way, and what obstacles do they face? How can companies achieve high-quality reporting on ESG? This panel will address some of the key governance challenges posed by the increased focus on ESG issues, and various action items that boards can take to respond constructively to these emerging trends.