As the Biden administration reinstates many climate regulations rolled back by the Trump administration, many companies must prepare for new challenges in the years ahead when it comes to sustainability. From tech giants to oil behemoths to retail empires, everyone is seeking to adjust as standards for corporate sustainability continue to evolve.
The Deal’s Corporate Sustainability Seminar explores what companies large and small are doing to create more sustainable businesses. How are they adjusting to ever-changing standards and what implications might new regulations have on investors and dealmakers who care about ESG and sustainability issues?
Cynthia Jamison, serves on the Board of Directors of Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ:TSCO), a position she has held since 2002, where she is Chairman of the Board, after serving as Lead Director, and Chair of the Audit, Compensation & Corporate Governance Committees.
As the expectations on corporate responsibility increase, professional communications and good intentions are no longer enough, and companies are recognizing the need to act on ESG and sustainability agendas. The Biden Administration has pledged to make critical strides in stopping the tide of the climate crisis that may mean greater support for decarbonization, a shift to renewables and efforts to realize a more circular economy. What impacts can we expect for investors, dealmakers and the market?
Moderator: Daniel Hanson, Chief Investment Officer, Ivy Investment Management Company
Panelist: Robert Esposito, Senior Counsel, ESG, Apollo
Panelist: Louis Rambo, Associate, Proskauer
Panelist: Michiel van Esch, Specialist Governance and Active Ownership, Robeco
As companies evolve, they often change how they approach new opportunities, solve problems and enhance shareholder value. The process typically stimulates creativity by implementing new technology and process improvements that enable companies to do more with less negative impacts on the environment, society, employees and stakeholders. How should companies be integrating environmental, social and financial considerations into their culture from idea generation, to research and development and through commercialization?
Moderator: Armie Lee, Reporter, The Deal
Panelist: Jennifer Cuccaro, Chief Operating Officer and Head of ESG Investing, Reformation Group
Panelist: Martha Cummings, Global Strategy & Risk Advisor, Independent Director, Marqeta, Inc.
Panelist: Jody Hyvarinen, Deputy General Counsel, Securities and Board Governance, United Natural Foods, Inc.
Panelist: Rakhi Kumar, Senior Vice President, Sustainability Solutions, Liberty Mutual
The disruptions of 2020 have strengthened the importance of risk assessment and processes to respond quickly to high impact ESG-related events and risks. As companies around the globe evaluate and revise their business models, they must put in place stronger operational models and processes focused on the management of business vulnerabilities. What is the board’s role in addressing disruptive risk, and what tools are available to directors related to ESG and sustainability risks?
Moderator: Ronald Orol, Senior Editor, The Deal
Panelist: Heidi DuBois, Global Head of ESG, Edelman
Panelist: Rishi Varma, SVP & General Counsel, Legal Department, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Panelist: Ted White, Managing Director, Legion Partners Asset Management
Panelist: Frank Zarb, Partner, Proskauer
When it comes to environmental, social and governance issues, what is the right mission and purpose for a corporation in 2021? Should companies be held responsible not only for their financial performance, but their successes or failures on environmental and social issues as well? How can positive change be achieved and measured at the governance level? How can companies institute ESG initiatives with a purpose, and not just perception?
Moderator: Kyle Fox, Partner, KRF Capital
Panelist: Elisa Davis, Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary, Adtalem Global Education
Panelist: Patricia Lizarraga, Managing Partner, Hypatia Capital
Panelist: James Rogers, Chief Legal Officer, Cars.com
Panelist: Eric Sibbern, Senior Partner and Managing Director, Veraison Capital AG
Panelist: Julia Thompson, Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP
Some of the world’s largest and most recognizable companies are committed to investing in sustainable practices and working toward carbon neutral operations. Surveys have indicated that consumers today are actually buying sustainably marketed and eco-friendly products, not just saying they want them. But is it possible for companies to implement carbon-neutral, and more sustainable practices without severely effecting profits? Are investors and shareholders truly content with sacrificing returns in the name of promoting more eco-friendly operations? This panel will explore the best path forward for companies seeking to make a shift toward reducing their carbon footprint.
Moderator: Tom Terrarosa, Senior Editor, The Deal
Panelist: Kathleen Camilli, Independent Director, UniFirst Corporation, NACD Leadership and Governance Fellow
Panelist: Viola Lutz, Executive Director, Deputy Head, ISS ESG Climate Solutions
Panelist: Laura McGonagle, Portfolio Manager & Research Analyst, Trillium Asset Management
Keynote Interview with Cindie Jamison Chairman, Tractor Supply Company; Director, Darden, Inc., Office Depot Inc., Big Lots Stores, Inc. and Nathan Richardson, Board Director and Business Leader
There has been so much discussion about racial and gender diversity at the board level, but what about generational diversity? How can companies get younger in the boardroom and cater to a younger customer base, when many will only look at seasoned board candidates to fill open seats? What skills are many boards missing by not including younger board members, and why are they important?
Interviewer: Steve Gelsi, Senior Editor, The Deal
Panelist: Cindie Jamison, Chairman, Tractor Supply Company; Director, Darden, Inc., Office Depot Inc., Big Lots Stores, Inc.
Panelist: Nathan Richardson, Board Director and Business Leader
Diversity isn’t just a mandate from a federal or state agency; it’s a necessity for successful business. But diversity isn’t always easy and enacting such change can often come at a snail’s pace. What are companies doing to encourage diversity from top to bottom both in terms of gender divides but also racial and cultural divides? How do companies operating in multiple jurisdictions where such standards may differ navigate such circumstances?
Moderator: Nikitha Sattiraju, Reporter, The Deal
Panelist: Marvin Boakye, Chief People and Diversity Officer, Papa John’s International, Inc.
Panelist: Deborah Gilshan, Advisor, Investment Stewardship & ESG and Founder, The 100% Club
Panelist: Timothy Wilkins, Global Partner for Client Sustainability, Freshfields
Panelist: Suzanne Yoon, Founder & Managing Partner, Kinzie Capital Partners
There is an ongoing war for senior ESG talent. When it became clear that ESG policies and frameworks could provide a roadmap for organizations to emerge more effectively from the global pandemic-inspired crises of the past 12 months, the demand for ESG leadership talent exploded. The days of a repurposed internal functional executive being credible in a senior ESG leadership role are over, and companies are realizing that best-in-class ESG leaders are business people first, with hands-on industry experience that will enable them to be credible with internal line of business leaders. Kurt Harrison, Partner, Co-Head, Global Sustainability Practice at Russell Reynolds Associates will explore how Next-Gen ESG leaders must possess the ability to successfully influence across an incredibly diverse set of stakeholders, including the C-suite and board of directors, institutional investors, regulators, external partners, and internal colleagues to be successful in these roles.
Moderator: David Marcus, Senior Writer, The Deal
Speaker: Kurt Harrison, Partner, Co-Head, Global Sustainability Practice, Russell Reynolds Associates
Many feel that the world’s social and environmental issues are too large for the public or private sectors to attempt to attack alone. Can the collaborative efforts of government, businesses and non-profits use their individual strengths as an effective tool to deliver change? At every level of governance, public-private partnerships are allowing public entities to meet their sustainability goals while also benefiting the business.
Moderator: Steve Gelsi, Senior Reporter, The Deal
Panelist: Chris Campbell, Former Assistant Secretary, US Department of Treasury
Panelist: Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Chief Sustainability Officer, Tiffany & Co.
Panelist: Rochelle Routman, Chief Sustainability and Quality Officer, HMTX Industries
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Will the market start to see an increase in distressed M&A? While distressed transactions come with greater risks than “healthy” acquisitions, the benefits of lower costs and legal protections for the buyer could outweigh the risk.
ESG and Sustainability concerns are now playing a prominent role in how companies around the world operate, and how investors allocate their capital.