Partner Stephen T. Giove and associate Arielle L. Katzman (both New York-Capital Markets) co-hosted an ESG Integration Forum in collaboration with Corporate Secretary and IR Magazine on December 6, 2018, at Shearman & Sterling’s New York office. This inaugural event brought together over 130 professionals from the fields of investor relations, governance, risk and compliance to explore the underlying factors that have driven the rise of ESG, deepen shareholder engagement, help companies identify and act on material risks, and better manage shareholder proposals.
Steve delivered the introductory remarks and moderated two sessions. The first session, “The Driving force of ESG – Values and Value,” explored views on what is really driving investor interest in ESG and why it is important; co-panelists included Erika Karp, Chief Executive Officer, Cornerstone Capital; Michael Stiller, Global Co-Head of Strategic Capital Intelligence, Nasdaq; and John Truzzolino, Director of Business Development, Donnelley Financial Solutions. Steve’s second session, “ESG Disclosure vs. Performance,” debated the importance of disclosure and how to use reporting to improve ESG performance; co-panelists included Wesley Gee, Director of Sustainability, The Works Design Communications; Kurt Kuehn, former CFO, UPS; and Brian Tomlinson, Research Director, Strategic Investor Initiative.
Arielle presented the attendees with an overview of trends in shareholder proposals in 2018, focusing on developments pertaining to environmental and social topics. She established the broader context for the next panel, which featured an interview of Alexandra Higgins, Managing Director, Okapi Partners by Ben Ashwell, Digital Editor, IR Magazine, that discussed hot issues topping the list of shareholder proposals and actions that forum participants and management can take to address these concerns.