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Business & Economics General

Stewards of the Future

A Guide for Competent Boards

by (author) Helle Bank Jorgensen

Barlow Books
Initial publish date
Jan 2022
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2022
    List Price

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Climate- and ESG-competent boards are in high demand by investors and other stakeholders. In fact, climate change and other environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues have become some of the biggest challenges faced by 21st-century board directors.

Today's boards must contend with a wide range of stakeholders who can affect the fortunes of a company-customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, politicians, activists, and social-media influencers, among others.

This book argues that for long-term profits and sustainability, boards need to not only define the purpose of their company in society but have the insight to ask the right questions of management on complex issues such as climate change, ESG, corruption, cybersecurity, human trafficking, supply-chain resilience, and much more.

With insightful contributions from over one hundred world leaders as well as relevant international case studies, this book provides board members and executives with a practical guide to mitigate the risks and seize the opportunities.

Insights include the following:- ESG disclosures must meet the same robust standards as reports on financial performance. Few individuals currently understand how to collect, test, and present ESG data in the same rigorous format as financial data.- For corporate boards, the focus is shifting from how a company's activities impact climate to how climate change will hurt or help the company's financial performance.- Upcoming ESG changes will be so significant that most companies will have to rethink their entire business model. To tackle those issues effectively, boards must include younger and more diverse members.- Boards that fail to tackle climate change risk facing a wave of lawsuits, like those that engulfed asbestos manufacturers in the 1980s.- The transition to a net-zero or net-positive economy may create the greatest commercial opportunities of our time.- Cybersecurity has become a key business risk. Companies will be judged on how well, and how proactively, they respond.The insights shared in this book have one common message: the companies with the best chance of surviving and thriving will be guided by leaders with the foresight, knowledge, and determination to tackle the daunting challenges that confront all of humankind.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Helle Bank Jorgensen is the CEO of Competent Boards, which offers the global online ESG Competent Boards Certificate and Designation Program with a faculty of over 100 renowned international board members, executives, and experts.

She has a 30-year track record in turning Environment, Social, Governance (ESG), Climate, and Sustainability risks into innovative and profitable business opportunities. She has worked with many global Fortune 500 board members and executives, as well as smaller companies and investors.

Helle was the creator of the world's first Green Account based on lifecycle assessment and of the world's first Integrated Report, the first integrated responsible supply-chain management system, and was the principal organizer for the CEO/Investor-network for Business Ethics and Non-Financial Reporting. She led the improvement of investor communication for global companies and has worked on Natural Capital Accounting for IFC/World Bank.

Helle serves on many international boards, including World Economic Forum Expert Network for Corporate Governance, Leadership, and Emerging Multinationals; The Non-financial Digitisation Working Group of the Impact Management Project; the Reuters Panel of Expert Judges for the Responsible Business Awards; and The Canadian Climate Governance Experts.

In 2020 she was awarded the Global Impact Award and named one of "5 people in ESG to look out for." She is a regular keynote speaker and author of many thought-leading articles and books.

She is a business lawyer and state-authorized public accountant (CPA) by training and holds a master's degree in business administration and auditing. She is a former PwC audit and advisory partner in Denmark and the United States, leading sustainability and climate practices.