Environmental, social and governance:
Supporting the bottom line and the greater good.
By April Hall
ConocoPhillips Co. director Jody Freeman sees environmental, social and governance issues, or ESG, as part of the board’s key responsibilities and an essential part of strategic planning.
“We play the same oversight and fiduciary role on behalf of shareholders on ESG issues as we do on everything else,” says Freeman, who sits on the public policy committee of the energy company.
Encouraging corporations to consider the greater good is nothing new. It has had many iterations and names, i.e. corporate responsibility, socially responsible investing and “the triple bottom line.” ESG is the latest salvo, broadening the concept to include everything from gender inequality to bribery to climate change; and it’s gaining momentum in Corporate America.
For ConocoPhillips, these issues have been a strategic concern since Freeman joined the board in 2012, a fact that’s an exception among many corporate boards.