CSB Publishes in Directors and Boards on Need for ESG Expertise in the Boardroom

CSB Director, Tensie Whelan, published an article in Directors and Boards titled "ESG Issues Call for ESG Directors."

It highlights research findings that show environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are growing in impact and materiality for all industries, however, most company boards are lacking in ESG expertise to face these challenges.

Only 6% of 1,188 board members from Fortune 100 companies had experience in environmental ("E") and governance ("G") and only 21% had experience in social ("S"). Sectors with significant immediate climate change impacts such as insurance, transportation, and retail have boards with similarly low ESG representation.

The article also provides several ways for how directors and boards can become ESG literate:
  • Get training from expert organizations like Ceres, National Association of Board Directors, and Competent Boards.
  • Recruit board prospects from a growing pool of qualified ESG professionals.
  • Create an ESG board committee to build engagement and accountability for all directors.
  • Work with the c-suite to embed ESG into core business strategy.
Excerpt: "Often these gaps occur because directors are former CEOs who ran their companies when ESG was less of an issue, traditional investors have a sole focus on the bottom line, a lack of board turnover or denial that having ESG-experienced directors is a need at all."

Read the full NYU Stern CSB report here.
Read the Directors and Boards Magazine article here.

This research was also featured in the Harvard Business Review article, "Boards are Obstructing ESG–at Their Own Peril."