One of the key responsibilities and challenges facing boards is the oversight of ESG-related risks and opportunities. Their success or otherwise in doing so faces growing scrutiny from investors and other key stakeholders.
Studies have found among the director population a widespread dearth of skills and experiences that will be needed to help navigate their organization through a period that, for many, may require fundamental changes to be made. These findings have caused concern in some corners of the governance world.
But Helle Bank Jorgensen, CEO and founder of Competent Boards, says the situation is changing fast. In the latest episode of the Governance Matters podcast, Jorgensen speaks to host Jeff Cossette about boards’ rapidly evolving roles and approaches when it comes to answering the big questions facing their companies. There is a great deal of demand from boards to learn how to navigate the road ahead, says the author of Stewards of the future: A guide for competent boards, as people such as her help prepare directors to be ESG-competent.
It is not so long since most board meetings would not include discussion of ESG issues, Jorgensen notes. Now, they are talking about a range of fundamental issues.
‘One of the things I’m seeing is board members saying, Ok, let’s learn something about climate. Ok, now let’s learn something about diversity, equity and inclusion. Let’s learn something about cyber,’ she says. ‘You need to have that integrated mindset where you see all of these different aspects and you are able to deal with all of those dilemmas. There are a lot more dilemmas today than we had three years ago, than we had two months ago.
‘What I hope we’re doing… is training board directors, corporate secretaries and executives to navigate in that difficult place and to say, How do we make decisions that are not only good for the short term or the long term but both short term and long term? How do we think [about] how we can be resilient in a world that is constantly changing?’
The Governance Matters podcast provides listeners with insight into cutting-edge issues of the day for corporate secretaries, general counsel and other governance professionals.
The series looks at how the role of the corporate secretary and the board has evolved over time, as well as how the governance landscape continues to change. From ESG to entity management, shareholder engagement to technology, hear from award-winning governance professionals and leading advisers about the latest public company governance matters.
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