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Nov 03, 2022

ESG tops list for director education, study finds

Large majority have received information or training on ESG in the past year, according to research

Board directors are more likely to be being briefed on ESG matters than any other issue, according to new research from Corporate Secretary.

Eighty percent of respondents say their board has received specific information or training over the past year on ESG matters, highlighting the rise of ESG as an area boards are taking seriously amid pressure from investors and other stakeholders.

The next-most frequently cited topic on which boards have been provided with information or training in the last 12 months is corporate governance (77 percent of respondents), followed by cyber-security (73 percent), compliance/regulation (67 percent), executive compensation (52 percent) and board diversity (50 percent).

Directors at larger companies are more likely to be prepared for ESG, according to the research: 76 percent of those at small caps say their board has been trained or informed about those matters in the past year, while 83 percent of those at mid-caps, 88 percent of those at large caps and 90 percent of those at mega-caps say likewise.

Nine in 10 respondents at large-cap companies say their board has been trained or informed about corporate governance matters, but only 67 percent of their peers at mega-cap firms say the same. The percentages of respondents who cite geopolitics, economic issues and domestic politics issues as topics for training and informing the board also increase with company size.

The findings are part of a special report from Corporate Secretary based on the results of an online survey conducted between August and September 2022 among governance professionals such as general counsel, corporate secretaries and their teams. A total of 226 respondents took part. The full report can be accessed here.

The report also examines who on the board oversees director education and training and who – outside of the board – provides those services. It provides insight on how frequently governance teams check whether their board has what it needs and, ultimately, how they rate their board’s ability to oversee the key issues facing the company.

Ben Maiden

Ben Maiden is the editor-at-large of Governance Intelligence, an IR Media publication, having joined the company in December 2016. He is based in New York. Ben was previously managing editor of Compliance Reporter, covering regulatory and compliance...