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May 25, 2022

Governance Matters podcast: Taking a structural approach to sustainability

The latest episode of the Governance Matters podcast looks at how companies can start tackling the challenges of sustainability by looking at how they are handled at an organizational level – including boards

One of the key questions companies ponder as they consider ESG issues is who should be in charge. Risk oversight is of course a core responsibility for boards and, as such, addressing sustainability and other ESG-related matters is rapidly becoming a core part of their risk oversight.

That raises follow-up questions about how boards should be structured to address ESG issues: should they have a single ESG committee or tackle different issues on different committees, for example? And the responsibilities don’t stop there.

‘This is not one person’s job. It’s a job that touches everyone in the organization,’ says Alex Gold, head of ESG & CEO of BWD North America. ‘It’s up to boards and executive teams to recognize that and ensure that the skills and responsibilities are mapped appropriately across the organization.’

In the latest episode of our podcast, Gold speaks to host Jeff Cossette about why ESG must be integrated throughout a company – and how to do it. Gold notes that one of the key challenges for companies in terms of sustainability is that – although climate change itself is certain – the timing and pattern of when its effects will be felt is less predictable. That does not play well alongside traditional business models and business structures that are focused on what’s going to happen over the coming year.

‘That’s what the world is up against at the moment: a business structure that is built around short-term thinking as well as a structure that historically has not accounted for its role in longer-term, larger-scale events such as climate change,’ Gold explains. The challenge is particularly acute for boards, which are charged with looking to the long-term success of their companies, he adds.

After listening to the podcast, click here to learn more about the role of boards and their structures in dealing with ESG matters in a report based on new research by Corporate Secretary.

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.

Click here to listen and subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Soundcloud.