2021 Directors' Alert

December 2020 

As the world continues to be impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns and looks to recover from the economic turmoil the pandemic has wrought, boards of directors are finding their world—and their boardrooms— fundamentally transformed. Even the boardroom table is changing—from oak, walnut, or glass to pixelated squares on laptop screens. Traditional topics of boardroom discussion like growth, profit, and cost structure are making room for broader, more far reaching ones, including new risks to the business, workplace safety issues, increased stakeholder interest in governance, serious discussions about social and political turmoil, and racial injustice. There is also growing demand among stakeholders for companies to directly address societal challenges. While some forward-thinking boards were already making time for these discussions, the pandemic has brought them to the fore. 

Take just two of these issues: climate change and social purpose. Even in the midst of the crisis, the push to have businesses respond and commit to climate has not abated. In Europe, the European Union’s non-financial reporting directive established a common reporting framework across a broad range of nonfinancial environmental, social, and governance (ESG) areas, including climate change. And in Asia as well as the United States, investor interest in ESG investing continues to rise.


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