If 2020 was the year ESG became mainstream, this year will be about setting a strategy and getting to grips with data and disclosure. Companies are seeing the need to integrate ESG into the heart of their strategy, in particular as they face demands for clear plans on transitioning to a more sustainable, net zero economy. The ‘S’ and ‘G’ in ESG are also increasingly important, especially around business and human rights, diversity and treatment of employees. Good governance will be key to ensuring companies keep on top of developments, avoid overpromising and underdelivering and protect against accusations of greenwashing. If you thought the pace of change on ESG in 2020 was fast, be prepared for increased acceleration this year. 

In our Issues for Boards 2021, we explore how boards should address these challenges, including our top tips on issues for boards to consider.