Bloomberg Quint Article Highlights CSB Director Tensie Whelan’s Research on the Lack of ESG Credentials on Fortune 100 Boards

Graph from US Labor of Statistics
As an increasing number of companies include terms like “sustainability” and “climate change” in their filings, presentations, and earnings calls, keeping them accountable for their promises is a difficult task. 

An article recently published on Bloomberg Quint highlights research done by CSB Director Tensie Whelan which underlines the lack of ESG expertise of Fortune 100 boards. According to research done by Bloomberg, out of 22 diversified banks with market capitalizations over $10 billion, every single one mentioned sustainability and 19 mentioned climate change in their filings, presentations, and transcripts, representing a huge increase in the last decade. 

However, a tiny share of board members have relevant credentials for addressing the sustainability and climate change challenges present today. Professor Whelan’s research found that a mere 0.8% of Fortune 100 board members had ESG credentials, with other categories looking similarly grim, if not worse. Addressing the challenge of board expertise, according to the author, could be a culture shift for corporate giants who do not normally include “younger, more academic” experts on their boards.

Excerpt: “Corporate boards should probably gain some client fluency, and soon. If it happens, it will be a culture shift for the world’s corporate giants. That’s a big if, though, because it will almost certainly mean bringing in new board members.”