The Evolving ESG Landscape: Practical Advice for Boards and Companies in 2024

Date: February 21, 2024
Time:  2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, A reception following
Location:  In-Person, Clayton Hall , University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Chatham House Rules applied

This three-hour interactive event was the third annual ESG program hosted by the Weinberg Center at the University of Delaware.  Panelists, who represent a wide cross section of perspectives, explored the most challenging issues emerging in the ESG landscape from the board’s vantage point, emphasizing practical advice for boards and management.  The program was led by John W. White, a partner from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.  Rather than dwelling on regulatory requirements and proposals by the SEC and European regulators in the ESG arena, the focus was on the board and advising the board on its responsibilities.  The discussion drilled down on the ESG-related issues that boards are grappling with the most today.

Panelists discussed effective board oversight of ESG, board involvement in interactions with investors, employees and other stakeholders, responding to ESG backlash, board responsibility for integrating ESG into strategy and operations, setting ESG goals, ESG activists and shareholder proposals.  Basic themes from the past programs were not be overlooked: locating ESG oversight responsibilities on the board and its committees, analyzing the interplay of ESG and fiduciary duties, promoting ESG savviness on the board through education and board member selection, and the importance of reliable data and internal control procedures.  As panelists explored these challenging issues, as has been the tradition at this program, the emphasis was on practical advice and takeaways for boards and those who advise boards.

In addition to John White, the other confirmed participants were:

  • Michael L. Arnold, Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
  • Paul Atkins, Chief Executive, Patomak Global Partners; and former Commissioner, Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Paul A. Beswick, EY Americas Director of Accounting and Chief Accountant, Ernst & Young LLP; and former Chief Accountant, Securities and Exchange Commission
  • The Honorable Andre Bouchard, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; and former Chancellor, Delaware Court of Chancery
  • Mary Francis, Corporate Secretary and Chief Governance Officer, Chevron Corporation
  • Consuelo Hitchcock, Principal, Regulatory Affairs group, Deloitte & Touche LLP
  • Jeffrey P. Mahoney, General Counsel, Council of Institutional Investors