Governance Matters podcast: Taking a structural approach to sustainability

One of the main questions companies ask themselves when considering ESG issues is who should be in charge. Risk oversight is of course a core responsibility of boards of directors and as such the management of sustainability and other ESG-related issues is quickly becoming a central part of their risk oversight.

This raises follow-up questions about how boards should be structured to deal with ESG issues: should they have one ESG committee or address different issues in different committees, for example? And the responsibilities don’t stop there.

“It is not the work of one person. This is work that affects everyone in the organization,” says Alex Gold, ESG Lead and CEO of BWD North America. “It is up to boards and management teams to recognize this and ensure that skills and responsibilities are properly distributed across the organization.”

In the latest episode of our podcast, Gold talks to host Jeff Cossette about why ESG needs to be embedded throughout a company – and how to do it. Gold notes that one of the main challenges for companies in terms of sustainability is that – although climate change itself is certain – the timing and timing of its effects is less predictable. It doesn’t work well with traditional business models and business structures that focus on what’s going to happen in the coming year.

“This is what the world is facing right now: a corporate structure built around short-term thinking as well as a structure that historically has overlooked its role in events. longer-term, larger-scale ones such as climate change,” Gold explains. The challenge is particularly acute for boards of directors, which are tasked with ensuring 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 addressing ESG issues in a report based on new research from the Corporate Secretary.

The Governance Matters podcast offers listeners insight into hot issues for corporate secretaries, general counsels and other governance professionals.

The series examines how the role of the corporate secretary and the board has evolved over time, as well as how the landscape of governance continues to change. From ESG to entity management, shareholder engagement to technology, hear from award-winning governance professionals and leading advisors on the latest public company governance issues.

Click here to listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, embroiderer and sound cloud.

Helen D. Jessen