I en 15-siders rapport med titlen ” The Board’s Role in Sustainable Leadership” gennemgår konsulentfirmaet Russell Reynolds et survey, der afdækker hvordan bestyrelserne i en stribe selskaber ser deres egen rolle: ”One recent survey of board leaders found ESG oversight was seen as the most important business issue for boards – but also one where board leaders were concerned about making near term progress. Why is it so important? There are many reasons why boards are interested in the topic, but they largely boil down to two related issues:
Sustainable business practices result in improved financial performance for corporations. Long gone is the belief that business must choose between doing good and doing well. As one director told us, “we realized very early on that in order to create long-term shareholder value, building a sustainable company is key.” This work can be done in many ways including via new products and services that address specific societal needs, by reimagining the supply chain, and by establishing partnerships and joint ventures with emerging partners. These efforts are not only good for the planet, but increasingly essential for business. One leader told us “you could be the least cost bid, but it doesn’t matter, the ability to say that we measure sustainability and that we have a program helps win business.”
Corporate leaders must be able to explain to their stakeholders what role the corporation is playing in addressing societal challenges. “There are a lot of things we don’t agree on,” said one leader, “but sustainability is a unifying force for employees, customers, even shareholders.” Companies that effectively engage on sustainability issues start by identifying their unique differentiators or areas of comparative advantage, and then leverage them to maximize social and financial value (for example, a global logistics company using its proprietary expertise to help governments coordinate disaster relief).