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Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are increasingly seen by shareholders as a window into the future. And a clear hierarchy is emerging. Leading companies view ESG issues as a business imperative. They manage risks while capitalizing on opportunities, including sharing their story and vision for the future, setting themselves up for long-term success and value creation in the process. Laggards still think of ESG as a check-the-box exercise grounded in philanthropic activities.

The tone at the top can make the difference between a company landing at the front or back of the pack. But as our 2021 Annual Corporate Directors Survey found, just over half of directors (52%) tell us that ESG issues are regularly a part of their board’s agenda. There is significant room for improvement.