43 minutes | Feb 24, 2023
What’s the Role of the Board and C-Suite in Addressing Health Equity?
The COVID-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on the level of health inequity in the US, where access to health care can depend on a person’s zip code, income, insurance, and contacts in the medical profession. This podcast discusses the role that companies – and, specifically, boards of directors – can play in helping to address this problem, which accounts for approximately $320 billion in the US. The discussion makes clear that all companies – not just those in the health sector – can play a role through the health and other benefits they provide to their employees; and that boards can ensure that their companies address health equity as part of their broader strategy to attract, retain, and develop the workforce they need to execute the firm’s strategy. In this podcast, Paul Washington, Executive Director of the ESG Center, speaks with two experts: Dr. Jay Bhatt, Executive Director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and the Deloitte Health Equity Institute, and Dr. William Payne, a founding member of the Black Directors Health Equity Agenda, a Chicago-area orthopedic surgeon and co-founder of the telehealth platform MyOwnDoctor about health equity. They discuss what it means, why it’s an issue the business community should pay attention to, and the role of the board and C-Suite in driving meaningful progress on this issue. Related resources: Equitable Pay and Health Care Top Consumer Wish List for Corporate Social Initiatives (Research report, July 2022) The Role of Corporate Citizenship in Addressing Health Equity (Webcast, April 2022) C-Suite Outlook 2023: On the Edge: Driving Growth and Mitigating Risk Amid Extreme Volatility (January 2023) The US Deloitte Health Equity Institute US Health Care Can’t Afford Health Inequities
47 minutes | Nov 10, 2022
How to ESG: Preparing for ESG Disclosures
The ESG reporting landscape is quickly evolving. Not only is it cluttered with an ever-growing number of rating agencies, initiatives to harmonize reporting frameworks and standards are underway, and regulations are rapidly arising in many jurisdictions – making ESG disclosure a business reality rather than a passing fad. So what’s a company to do? In this podcast, Merel Spierings, Corporate Governance Researcher at the ESG Center, speaks with Andrew Fowler, Partner at the law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed about how companies can prepare for upcoming disclosure requirements – specifically the SEC’s proposed rules on climate. They also discuss a free resource that Hughes, Hubbard, and Reed recently put out, How to ESG: A Resource Guide for Establishing an ESG Program for your Company, which provides practical guidance on addressing emerging ESG norms and requirements.
41 minutes | Oct 7, 2022
Hurricane Ian: Lessons from Past Disasters and Preparing for a New Era of Disaster Response
Natural disasters are increasing in both frequency and intensity. Yet, only 22 percent of corporate citizenship executives say their number one priority is preparedness – taking action to mitigate the effects of a natural disaster before it occurs. Only 3 percent of corporate citizenship executives prioritize long-term recovery and reconstruction. In this podcast, Patty McIIreavy, President and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy speaks with Lindsay Beltzer and Jeff Hoffman from The Conference Board ESG Center to discuss the impact of Hurricane Ian and why the traditional playbook of responding with dollars, in-kind donations, and volunteers, while critical, is not enough. A greater focus on disaster preparedness and long-term recovery projects can pay dividends for both companies and communities and ensure these programs have maximum impact over time. Additional Resources: Disaster Philanthropy Practices 2021 Corporate Citizenship Watch: A New Era of Disaster Philanthropy - How Companies Can Lead the Way Corporate Citizenship Watch Disaster Philanthropy: Fifteen Years after Hurricane Katrina - Lessons Learned and Planning for the Future Resources from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy: Educational Resources - Center for Disaster Philanthropy Here's how we can make a difference before disaster strikes - Center for Disaster Philanthropy 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season - Center for Disaster Philanthropy
42 minutes | May 23, 2022
What does the C-suite Actually Think of Their Boards? A Conversation on Board Effectiveness
Only 29 percent of C-suite executives rate their board’s effectiveness as good or excellent. And 74 percent of executives say two or more of their directors should be replaced. That’s despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of C-suite executives say their boards understand the company’s strategy, risks and opportunities, and competitive landscape -- and that nearly 90 percent say their directors have independent judgment and are willing to challenge management. In this podcast, Paul Washington, Executive Director of the ESG Center, speaks with Leah Malone, Director of the Governance Insights Center at PwC, and author of Board Effectiveness: A Survey of the C-suite (2021 Edition) to discuss what’s driving the gap between board performance and expectations, how the C-suite’s view of the board compares to what directors see when they look in the mirror, and several practical steps that companies can take to close the gap. Additional Resources: Toward Stakeholder Capitalism
51 minutes | Mar 30, 2022
What the New Landmark #MeToo Law Means for the Future of Business and Employees
Join Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) and Gretchen Carlson, the woman whose lawsuit helped ignite the #MeToo movement and who co-founded the non-profit Lift Our Voices, to discuss the recent groundbreaking bipartisan legislation, The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act. Passed with strong bipartisan support in February, the legislation marks one of the most significant workplace reforms in the last 50 years. Under the legislation, employers would be prohibited from requiring workers to settle discrimination and harassment claims through arbitration. Instead, employees have the choice to file suit in court with their own legal representation. Listen to learn: What the law is and why it matters: What the law does, doesn’t do, and its significance How a grassroot movement led to bipartisan support, and what it took to pass in both the House and Senate What companies should consider doing now, both in response to the legislation and in creating a safe and harassment-free environment What’s next, including potential future federal legislation addressing forced arbitration in other contexts and state legislation relating to non-disclosure agreements.
31 minutes | Mar 28, 2022
Director-Shareholder Engagement: Practical Advice for Constructive Conversations
Traditionally, corporate board members played a limited – and only occasional – role in discussions with investors. But now investors expect to hear from independent directors on the board’s oversight of ESG issues. And companies are recognizing that involving their directors in discussions with investors can have significant near-term and long-term benefits. In this podcast, Paul Washington, Executive Director of the ESG Center, speaks Bill Ultan, Managing Director at Morrow Sodali, to discuss what’s happening, why, the do’s and don’ts of effective engagement, and how both directors and investors can make their engagements as constructive as possible. As more companies involve their directors in shareholder engagement, they should do so with a clear purpose in mind and ample preparation beforehand. Additional resources: Six Ways Boards Can Prepare for a Challenging Proxy Season 2022 Proxy Season Preview and Shareholder Voting Trends Evolving Trends in ESG Disclosure: Morrow Sodali Q&A with Maryann Waryjas Lighthouse – March 2022 Edition
19 minutes | Feb 24, 2022
C-Suite Outlook 2022: Which ESG Issues Do Leaders Care About
For the year ahead, what are the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) priorities of business leaders around the world? This year’s annual survey of the C-suite provides fascinating ESG insights. Listen to this ESG News and Views podcast as Chuck Mitchell, Executive Director of Content Quality, unpacks the findings with Paul Washington, Executive Director of the ESG Center.
40 minutes | Feb 16, 2022
Corporate Political Activity: Opportunity Amid Scrutiny with Adie Olson, Jason Abel, and Bruce Freed
Many have viewed corporate political activity with skepticism, if not suspicion. In 2021, companies faced a combination of surprises and scrutiny that made their political activity exponentially more difficult . . . and 2022 promises to be equally, if not more, challenging. In this podcast, Paul Washington, Executive Director of the ESG Center, speaks with experts, Adie Olsen and Jason Abel, Partners at Steptoe and Johnson, and Bruce Freed, President of the Center for Political Accountability, to address some of the myths and misunderstandings about corporate political activity, the challenges corporate PACs, company political contributions, and lobbying faced last year, as well as what to expect in the mid-term election year of 2022. Listen in to find out how this era of heightened scrutiny may provide an opportunity for fresh thinking about corporate political activity. Additional Resources: From the Conference Board Under a Microscope: A New Era of Scrutiny for Corporate Political Activity Shareholder Voting Dashboard Many Orgs Say 2022 Will Be Harder for Political Activity (Survey) Corporate Political Activity Proposals From Steptoe and Johnson Adie J. Olson - Partner | Steptoe & Johnson LLP Jason Abel - Partner | Steptoe & Johnson LLP DOJ Seeks Comments on Changes to the Foreign Agents Registration Act Regulations | Steptoe & Johnson LLP From the Center of Political Accountability 2021 CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability Conflicted Consequences CPA-Wharton Zicklin Model Code of Conduct for Corporate Political Spending
33 minutes | Oct 27, 2021
Companies’ Impact on Economic Opportunity & Fairness – a conversation with Martin Whittaker
While there is a lot of focus today on companies’ role in addressing environmental and social issues, less attention is being paid to companies’ role in with respect to traditional economic challenges. Yet, through their business operations, almost all companies can have more direct impact on issues of economic opportunity and fairness than they can on the environment or on social legislation. And there’s an additional imperative: a recent survey by The Conference Board’s Marketing & Communications Center, along with the Harris Poll, on consumers’ views on sustainability, found that fair wages and work conditions are more important to buying decisions than any other issues, suggesting that these kinds of issues are cutting across the political divide. In this podcast, Paul Washington, Executive Director of the ESG Center, speaks with Martin Whittaker, the founding CEO of JUST Capital – an independent nonprofit that provides research, rankings, indices, and data-driven tools to empower all market participants to help build a more just economy, thereby moving the vision of stakeholder capitalism from rhetoric to reality. They discuss what companies are doing – and can do – regarding economic opportunity and fairness. One of the key takeaways: companies have a real opportunity to tell their “economic opportunity and fairness story” on how they are creating value for all their stakeholders, not just their investors, and what they are doing to contribute to a fair and inclusive economy.
32 minutes | Sep 24, 2021
Infusing Community Needs into Products and Services: Lessons from Prudential
Prudential has been a pillar in the city of Newark for more than 140 years. Established in 1875, it provides financial wellness services to retail and institutional customers throughout the United States and over 40 countries worldwide. As an “anchor” organization in Newark, along with corporations such as Audible, United Airlines, Mars, PSEG, the company plays a vital role in working with community groups, nonprofits, and government officials in creating a more vibrant city – helping to make Newark a top destination for employers, workers, residents, and visitors alike. Prudential also provides an excellent blueprint for others in effectively engaging with community stakeholders. Not only does it tap into the needs of communities through its corporate citizenship and philanthropic programs, but in the creation of its products and services. In this podcast, Jeff Hoffman, Institute Leader of Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy at the ESG Center, speaks with Sarah Keh, Vice President of Inclusive Solutions at Prudential Financial and Vice President & Secretary of The Prudential Foundation, and Vishal Jain, Prudential’s Head of Financial Wellness Strategy and Development. They discuss how Prudential’s Corporate Citizenship team and Financial Wellness team partner in creating products and solutions that address the racial wealth gap, why working with local organizations – tapping them as thought-leaders and influencers – is key in getting individuals engaged with their suite of offerings, and the role of their Business Resource Groups (BRGs) in providing a sounding board to ensure their for-profit products meet the needs of different audiences. Related Resources: How Companies Can Make an Enduring Difference in American Cities Case Study: Newark, New Jersey: Community Voices Case Study: Baltimore, Maryland: Community Voices Case Study: Detroit, Michigan: Community Voices Case Study: Los Angeles, California: Community Voices Corning’s Approach to Social Issues: A Story of Innovation and Passion Corporate Citizenship in Action: Helping Small Businesses Survive and Thrive
32 minutes | Sep 21, 2021
Human Capital Disclosure: Early Trends and a Case Study of Success
The SEC’s upcoming disclosure rules on human capital management (HCM) is – or should be – a top of mind issue in Corporate America. As companies prepare for those rules, it’s helpful to look at the first wave of human capital disclosures made in the months after SEC’s previous HCM disclosure rules took effect on November 9, 2020. In this podcast, Paul Washington, Executive Director of the ESG Center, sits down with Solange Charas, Founder and CEO of HCMoneyball and Distinguished Principal Research Fellow at The Conference Board Human Capital Center, and Ross Jeffries, Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Bank of America, to discuss human capital disclosure trends, based on a review of human capital disclosures made by 344 public companies from November 9th, 2020 to March 1st, 2021; Bank of America’s HCM story, which may serve as a model for others; and how to prepare for disclosure requirements on the way. Related resources HC Disclosure Analysis Presentation Sustainability Reporting Is Hard—Will It Get Easier in the Future? Telling Your Sustainability Story Brave New World: Creating Long-Term Value through Human Capital Management and Disclosure How Boards Can Get Human Capital Management Right in Five (Not So) Easy Steps Insights for Investors and Companies in Addressing Today's Social Issues Bank of America’s 2020 Human Capital Management Report
24 minutes | Jul 28, 2021
Corning’s Approach to Social Issues: A Story of Innovation and Passion
Innovation doesn’t only result in product and service inventions. It can also transform a company’s impact on society. For nearly 170 years, Corning Incorporated has been a leading innovator in advanced glass technology and materials science, leading to an unmatched track-record of life-changing inventions. From Edison’s light bulb, to optical fiber technologies, to the tough glass for smartphone displays, innovation is in Corning’s DNA. It has also applied the concept of innovation in its approach to social issues, most recently with the creation of the Office of Racial Equality and Social Unity (ORESU). In this podcast, Paul Washington, Executive Director of the ESG Center, speaks with Dr. Millicent Ruffin, Director of Community Affairs for the Office of Racial Equality and Social Unity, who leads the development and execution of programs that address the racial inequality and socioeconomic disparities in the communities around the world where Corning operates. They discuss Millicent’s background as a chemist and journey to her current role – which proves that the combination of skills and passion is a recipe for innovation; Corning’s long-standing commitment to diversity, equity & inclusion; how employee resource groups have contributed to the creation of the Office of Racial Equality and Social Unity; and the importance of letting company values, as well as listening to your employees and communities, lead the way in deciding whether, when, and how to engage in social issues. Related Resources: Choosing Wisely: How Companies Can Make Decisions and a Difference on Social Issues How Companies Can Make an Enduring Difference in American Cities Listen to Lead: How Community Expertise Can Improve Corporate Philanthropy Even Higher Expectations in a Post-2020 World: How Organizations Engage with Social Change Issues
34 minutes | May 11, 2021
Impact Investing and its Impact on You
ESG investing has been around for decades, but it has gained considerable momentum in recent years. In this podcast, Paul Washington, Executive Director of the ESG Center, speaks with Hari Balkrishna, Portfolio Manager for T. Rowe Price’s Global Impact Equity strategy, about the different ways investors are incorporating ESG factors into their investment strategies – from Socially Responsible Investing (which excludes certain categories of firms) to Impact Investing (which focuses on firms that have a positive environmental and social impact). They discuss what data investors need to make informed decisions, which go beyond the obvious reporting frameworks; the impact of the pandemic and the new Administration on sustainability; how investors spot signs of greenwashing; the main areas of ESG risk and opportunity in the next 5-10 years; and the most important piece of advice Hari would provide CEOs who are looking to integrate ESG into their processes and products. Related content: How Important is ESG to Capital Markets? Investor and Lender Perspectives (Webcast, The Conference Board, March 2021) International Evidence on the Mismatch between Firms' ESG Disclosure and ESG Performance (Publication, The Conference Board, February 2021) Impact Investing: Why It Matters Now More Than Ever (T. Rowe Price, March 2021)
40 minutes | Feb 18, 2021
Corporate Citizenship in Action: Helping Small Businesses Survive and Thrive
Jeff Hoffman, Institute Leader of Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy at the ESG Center, interviews Jenny Flores, Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy at Wells Fargo, and Elizabeth Gore, Co-Founder and President of HelloAlice.com. In their conversation, they discuss how corporations can further support small businesses and entrepreneurs not only with funding but with their expertise, as well as the role of technology, partnerships, and innovation in supporting minority-owned businesses.
49 minutes | Feb 4, 2021
The Future of Corporate Governance
John Wilcox, Chairman Emeritus at Morrow Sodali, is one of the most recognized and respected figures in corporate governance in the world. In his book, The Evolution of Corporate Governance, he provides a real-time picture of how governance evolved over the years through a collection of essays and articles he has written during his distinguished career. In this podcast, John and Paul Washington, Executive Director of The Conference Board ESG Center, discuss the past, present, and future of corporate governance, including John’s suggestions for companies in tackling some of the most pressing issues boards face today, such as creating an annual “Director’s Discussion & Analysis”; restricting corporate political spending; establishing a separate HCM board committee; recognizing the alignment between shareholders’ and stakeholders’ interests; and taking a holistic approach to corporate communication that goes beyond legal compliance. Additional resources: Brave New World: Creating Long-Term Value through Human Capital Management and Disclosure Even Higher Expectations in a Post-2020 World: How Organizations Engage with Social Change Even Higher Expectations in a Post-2020 World: How Organizations Engage with Social Change Corporate Board Practices in the Russell 3000 and S&P 500: 2020 Edition Board Effectiveness: A Survey of the C-suite
31 minutes | Jan 12, 2021
A New Way at Looking at Risk: From the Pandemic to Cybersecurity and Beyond
BBob Zukis will change the way you view the world we live in: it’s one comprising a set of complex systems, from finance and health care, to communications and the environment. Sometimes the failure of a single component can bring down an entire system. And sometimes, as with the COVID-19 pandemic, it can cascade into the failure of multiple systems. Bob Zukis, co-author of “The Great Reboot: Succeeding in a World of Catastrophic Risk and Opportunity” offers eye-opening guidance for corporate leaders on how to move beyond traditional risk management approaches to identify and prepare for systemic risks. Bob shares insights from his book as well as from his experience as CEO and Founder of Digital Directors Network, Adjunct Professor of Management and Organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, and ESG Center Fellow.
33 minutes | Nov 18, 2020
Supporting Veteran-owned businesses, employees, and communities – are corporations doing enough to help?
Paul Washington, Executive Director of the ESG Center at The Conference Board, interviews Ben Biles, CEO and Co-founder, American Veterans Group, and Jeff Cathey, Senior Military Affairs Executive at Bank of America, about the value of supporting veteran-owned businesses and employees, and how Covid-19 and changing demographics may lead to new strategies in private sector.
51 minutes | Aug 11, 2020
Corporate Citizenship in the Global South during COVID-19: Part 4 – The Middle East
In this 4-part series of ESG News & Views, Corporate Citizenship in the Global South During COVID-19, Jeff Hoffman, Institute Leader of Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy for The Conference Board, explores how multinational companies and those headquartered in the region – Africa, Latin America, India, and the Middle East, are leveraging their resources in response to the crisis. In Part 4: The Middle East, he sits down with Bassam Alfeeli, Director of Innovation and Enterprises at The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) and executives from the Zain Group, Jennifer Suleiman, Chief Sustainability Officer, and Malek Hammoud, Chief Investment & Digital Officer, to discuss how innovation and digital transformation in the public and private sector is accelerating progress and paving the way for recovery. To learn more about the organizations featured in this program, please visit: https://www.kfas.com/ and https://zain.com/en/covid19/.
47 minutes | Jul 16, 2020
Corporate Citizenship in the Global South during COVID-19: Part 3 – India
In this 4-part series of ESG News & Views, Corporate Citizenship in the Global South During COVID-19, Jeff Hoffman, Institute Leader of Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy for The Conference Board, explores how multinational companies and those headquartered in the region – Africa, Latin America, India, and the Middle East, are leveraging their resources in response to the crisis. In Part 3: India, he sits down with Sandeep Makkar, Managing Director of Johnson & Johnson, Medical India and Prabhat Pani, Senior Advisor, Partnerships & Technology at Tata Trusts, to discuss how COVID-19 is impacting the country’s healthcare system, economy, and how their businesses are responding to the challenges and effects of the pandemic.
56 minutes | Jul 9, 2020
Corporate Citizenship in the Global South during COVID-19: Part 2 – Latin America
COVID-19 hit China first, then traveled to Europe, followed by the United States. Emerging markets, particularly in the Global South, are now at the epicenter of the pandemic, with daily infections now exceeding those in the United States and Europe. In this 4-part series of ESG News & Views, Corporate Citizenship in the Global South During COVID-19, Jeff Hoffman, Institute Leader of Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy for The Conference Board, explores how multinational companies and those headquartered in the region – Africa, Latin America, India, and the Middle East, are leveraging their resources in response to the crisis. In Part 2: Latin America, he sits down with Sandro Mesquita, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Sustainability for Latin America, AT&T, and Maria Luiza de Oliveira Pinto e Paiva, Director of Sustainability, Suzano, to learn how COVID-19 is impacting South America, the resulting economic crisis, and how their companies stepping up to provide critical support.