How ESG issues are being discussed in the boardroom amidst COVID-19

In this episode, EY’s Chris Hagler, board members Ana Dutra and Cigdem Oktem explore the components of ESG and how boards can prioritize the most relevant aspects in the context of their business decisions.

Dealing with COVID-19 has risen to the top of the board agenda, and it has changed how we interact, work and think about impact.

While it might be easy to assume the current crisis will permanently shift attention away from ESG as management teams grapple with existential issues, the very actions companies are taking bring them closer to the multi-stakeholder, long term value principles that lie at the heart of ESG.

In this episode, EY’s Chris Hagler welcomes Ana Dutra author, speaker, business advisor and board member of three public companies, four private companies and a number of impact not-for-profits. She is also joined by Cigdem Oktem, governance specialist, regional leader for EY Center for Board Matters and non-profit board member. Together they explore the components of ESG, how boards can frame and prioritize the most relevant aspects in the context of their business decisions, and what all this looks like in our current environment.

Key Takeaways

  • A viral pandemic highlights the very issues that have been driving ESG concerns – managing resources, sustainability, community impact, and employee wellbeing.
  • Boards need to have a baseline understanding of what the company is doing and how these activities are housed within the processes and business decisions of the organization. There should be particular attention paid to any recent efforts as a result of COVID-19 response that can be considered ESG. This exercise can not only help an organization prioritize for action and create a plan, but can also surface new opportunities.

For your convenience, full text transcript of this podcast is also available.


Season 2, Episode 2


29m 54s