The role of the Board when it comes to ESG

Date: April 2022

Good governance is fundamental to any successful organisation, but as the focus of companies  moves away from a pure profit and shareholder focus to a more rounded and inclusive stakeholder view, how does governance have to change?

Sustainability has to be embedded across the entire organisation and boards needs to rethink how they are addressing the E and the S via the G

A 2021 study from PwC showed  that almost two thirds of board directors are linking strategy with ESG, but the same survey says that only 25% of directors feel that their boards hav​e a good understanding of the ESG risks.

A recent survey by SWIPRA in Switzerland  showed that only 31% of institutional shareholders believe that boards assume sufficient responsibility in the areas of E & S.

Directors are seeing increased interest from shareholders in environmental and social topics, and it is becoming clear that ESG has to be considered across the entire value chain. Having a single sustainability officer or an isolated department is no longer sufficient. To get it right, sustainability has to be embedded across the entire organisation and boards needs to rethink how they are addressing the E and the S via the G.

So where should boards be thinking about ESG? In reality, everywhere! But here are some initial questions that boards should be asking:

One thing that is clear is that ESG is not a passing fad. We are in a period of transition where ESG is being singled out as the topic of the moment, but we BELIEVE. in a future where ESG is integrated across organisations to the same extent that financial performance is.  

Sustainability and ESG are complex topics, and many organisations are only at the start of this journey. It starts with understanding and assessing your impact, then aligning credible substantially goals with long term strategies and identifying the solutions that are right for your business.

Edith Alderweld

Edith's mission is to make people aware on the positive impact they can achieve for themselves, our society and environment by investing wealth in a responsible and sustainable way. To bring purpose into the financial industry and to accompany women in sustainable finance to find their purpose and thrive personally and in their career.

 Her project, Moving Money to Meaning, is her passion. It reflects her personal values, mission and purpose with her working experience. She co-created the course 'Sustainable Investing in Wealth Management' with the University of Zurich. She advices on Sustainable Investments Trends in combination with the SDG Goals at Acatis Fair Value AG.

 In Zurich she initiated the network ‘Women in Sustainable Finance’ (WISF) to raise awareness, to support gender equality in finance, to educate and to create synergy by cooperation. Edith is the co-founder of the charity Association War Child Support Switzerland, that supports War Child in the Netherlands with fund raising. She is a public speaker and consummate networker.

Alistdair Wilson Gough

Alistdair Wilson Gough is the Managing Partner of KMA Planning LLP and a Founding Partner of 50 International and 50 Great Britain. 

His professional career spans decades in the provision of tax and structuring advice for clients both in the UK and abroad. With excellent relationships with a number of senior barristers, 

Alistdair has a breadth of experience in searching for compliant answers to the challenges in structuring to manage the tax on both established and developing wealth for both the UK resident and the non-domiciled arriving in the UK. 

Olivier Marchand


At MSI Inc:
Managing Director -Global Head of ESG Research & Models
Global Head of ESG Research & Development
Executive Director - Head of Climate Risk Research & Development

Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the asset management industry. Skilled in Portfolio Management, IT Infrastructure Management, Asset Management, IT Service Management, and IT Strategy. Strong entrepreneurship professional with Ph.D. in Computer Science from ETH Zürich

Nicole Rycroft

Nicole Rycroft is the Founder and Executive Director of award winning environmental not-for-profit, Canopy.
  Nicole has spent the past 22 years inspiring and supporting senior corporate decision makers in the publishing, print and fashion sectors to advance ambitious sustainability initiatives, transform unsustainable supply chains and advance conservation of the world's Ancient and Endangered Forests.
Nicole and her team catalyze commercial production of innovative circular economy solutions and support more than 750 companies green their purchasing practices, including H&M, Zara/Inditex, Penguin Random House and Stella McCartney.
Nicole was recently named recipient of the 2020 Climate Breakthrough Award and is an Ashoka Fellow, UBS Global Visionary, recipient of the Meritorious Service Cross of Canada and Canadian Environment Award Gold Medal.

Claudia Robayo-
Challand

Claudia is a lawyer and the Vice-President at Swiss Re which helps insurers and direct clients to shoulder risks through re/insurance and other solutions.

She has been a legal counselor for 21 years

Chirag Shah

Business executive/Entrepreneur. A dynamic and visionary business leader with a rare combination of executive board level experience and proven entrepreneurial track record.

Formerly Executive Director at Xchanging plc, a FTSE-listed business processing and technology solutions provider.
Founder of 4 entrepreneurial ventures all achieving successful exits including MarketMaker4 - sold to Xchanging plc, TradingPartners - twice listed on The Sunday Times TechTrack100 and listed in the Best Companies to Work For Awards 2006 and most recently Simfoni - a digital solutions provider for Spend Analytics and Spend Automation with special emphasis on corporate social responsibility.

Strong track record in international business with experience managing businesses in over 30 countries with special attention to USA, Europe, China, UAE.

Upgrate to $9/mounth
Focus on Net-zero

Our planet has already warmed by 1.2 degrees and the last 5 years were the warmest on record. Extreme climate events are becoming common place and we are seeing the impact across the world. This will only intensify without decisive action.  According to science we are on track for a warming of around 2.4%.  
The science tell us that this will lead to a massive increase in severe weather events - more frequent and more intense, and immense social impact. Stabilising the worlds climate requires strong, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and this can only be achieved with decisive action. Governments and companies around the world need to delver on the promised being made. We need a decrease in emissions of 7% each year until 2030.  

This year’s COP put the private sector at the centre of the agenda, acknowledging the essential role that business has to play.  Business is a critical part of the climate solution. At BELIEVE. We drive change by supporting businesses' transition to a more sustainable future. We are focused on aligning sustainability with long term business goals, engaging employees to unleash workforce potential and supporting companies to position themselves for the future. 

 Global Finance Alliance for Net Zero:
 Raising 
expectations


This year’s COP places private sector at the centre of the agenda, acknowledging the essential role that business has to play. We see the finance sector as a critical enabler to decarbonisation of the global economy.

Mark Carney confirmed that via the GFANZ (Global Finance Alliance for net zero), $130 trillion of capital is committed to aligning portfolios and the balance sheet of financial institutions to net zero – promising commitment, engagement, investment and net-zero alignment under the GFANZ. GFANZ’s goal is to accelerate the investment needed to reach the 1.5 degrees target and to transform a net zero economy. 

But these commitments need action. 

The GFANZ signatories span across the financial services sector and commit to: 
• Use science-based guidelines to reach net-zero emissions across all emissions scopes by 2050.
• Set 2030 interim targets that represent a fair share of the 50% decarbonisation required by the end of the decade.
• Set and publish a net-zero transition strategy. 
• Commit to transparent reporting and accounting on progress against those targets. 
• Adhere to strict restrictions on use of offsets. 

This means firstly, that financial institutions need to implement the right measurement and monitoring processes across their portfolios to enable them to assess performance against these commitments. They need to be able to consistently and accurately monitor the carbon intensity of investment portfolios and balance sheet, and set realistic and actionable targets. But more importantly, it means that those seeking capital, need also to commit to and ultimately reach net-zero!

We work with companies both in and out of the financial sector to understand what this means for their business and to build a strategy aligned to these commitments. To build credible and achievable targets and to identify the solutions needs to achieve them.

Introducing BELIEVE.

We BELIEVE. in a world where nature and society co-exist in harmony and thrive together. Our mission is to drive change by supporting businesses transition to a more sustainable future.We support organisations to align their sustainability strategy with their long term business goals.  To embed sustainability across their organisation and engage employees to unleash their workforce potential.

Why? Because we BELIEVE. in the future. Companies with the right sustainability strategy are better placed to face the future; to identify opportunity, access finance, attract the best talents and deliver on their purpose. And we BELIEVE. that businesses have a crucial role in investing in this future to make it brighter for generations to come.