Upcoming Events

Oct
8
Tue
2019
9:00 am The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ Institute of Directors
The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ Institute of Directors
Oct 8 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
The effective Non-Executive Director course helps you to be an effective non-executive director. It instils a real sense of what is expected of NEDs, and how you can meet the challenge. <img data-attachment-id='113603' data-permalink='https://nedworks.net/10-things-non-executive-directors-can-do-to-satisfy-their-legal-responsibilities/ned3-2/' data-orig-file='https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=1500%2C883&ssl=1' data-orig-size='1500,883' data-comments-opened='0'[...]
Oct
22
Tue
2019
9:00 am How to become a Non-Executive Di... @ Institute of Directors
How to become a Non-Executive Di... @ Institute of Directors
Oct 22 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
How to become a Non-Executive Director – London 22 October 2019 @ Institute of Directors
Find out how you can obtain a Non-Executive Director position by booking a place on this interactive 1-day course. <img data-attachment-id='113603' data-permalink='https://nedworks.net/10-things-non-executive-directors-can-do-to-satisfy-their-legal-responsibilities/ned3-2/' data-orig-file='https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=1500%2C883&ssl=1' data-orig-size='1500,883' data-comments-opened='0' data-image-meta='{'aperture':'0','credit':'','camera':'','caption':'','created_timestamp':'0','copyright':'','focal_length':'0','iso':'0','shutter_speed':'0','title':'','orientation':'0'}' data-image-title='NED3' data-image-description=' ‘ data-medium-file=’https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=300%2C177&ssl=1′ data-large-file=’https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=695%2C409&ssl=1′ class=’alignright size-medium wp-image-113603′ src=’https://i0.wp.com/www.nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31-300×177.png?resize=300%2C177&ssl=1′[...]
Nov
6
Wed
2019
9:00 am The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ Institute of Directors
The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ Institute of Directors
Nov 6 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
The effective Non-Executive Director course helps you to be an effective non-executive director. It instils a real sense of what is expected of NEDs, and how you can meet the challenge. <img data-attachment-id='113603' data-permalink='https://nedworks.net/10-things-non-executive-directors-can-do-to-satisfy-their-legal-responsibilities/ned3-2/' data-orig-file='https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=1500%2C883&ssl=1' data-orig-size='1500,883' data-comments-opened='0'[...]

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust – Non-Executive Director

Non-Executive Director – North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust We are recruiting a Non-executive Director (NED) for North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust (NSCHT). This is an exceptional opportunity to share your talents and expertise to make a positive difference to the lives of people in your community. M2085 The opportunity We are recruiting a […]

The post North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust – Non-Executive Director appeared first on NEDworks.

[…]

North Star – Board Members

Board Members – North Star Recruiter: Campbell Tickell Limited Location: Stockton-on-Tees Salary: £3,481 pa | 2 days per month Posted: 13 Sep 2019 Closes: 02 Oct 2019 Job Function: Board Member Industry: Not-For-Profit, Housing / Regeneration Board Members Stockton-on-Tees £3,481 pa | 2 days per month Our vision to 2023 is to be a Housing […]

The post North Star – Board Members appeared first on NEDworks.

[…]

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – Chair

Chair – World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Recruiter: WWF Location: London Salary: Competitive Posted: 13 Sep 2019 Closes: 11 Oct 2019 Job Function: Chair Industry: Charities We are the first generation to know we are destroying the world and could be the last one that can do anything about it. Time is short, but […]

The post World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – Chair appeared first on NEDworks.

[…]

TimeBank – Trustee

Trustee – TimeBank Business / Organisation Name: TimeBank Business / Organisation Sector: Not-for-Profit Business / Organisation Website: http://www.timebank.org.uk Business / Organisation Type: Charity or Not-for-Profit Role Title: Trustee Remuneration: Expenses only Role Description We believe that you get more out of volunteering than you put in. Do you? Join us as a trustee of TimeBank, […]

The post TimeBank – Trustee appeared first on NEDworks.

[…]

De Montfort University (DMU) – Chair of the Board of Governors

Chair of the Board of Governors – De Montfort University (DMU) Recruiter: Odgers Berndtson Location: Leicester Salary: Competitive Posted: 12 Sep 2019 Closes: 11 Oct 2019 Ref: 73417 Job Function: Chair Industry: Education Position Type: Permanent Chair of the Board of Governors De Montfort University (DMU) is an ambitious, globally-minded institution with a relentless focus […]

The post De Montfort University (DMU) – Chair of the Board of Governors appeared first on NEDworks.

[…]

PRI report reveals global shift to national sustainable finance policies

ESG, environment, sustainability

The world’s 50 largest economies have put in place more than 500 policy instruments and 730 hard and soft law revisions to back investors in using “long-term value drivers”, including ESG factors, according to a white paper from Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

It argues that more policy measures are inevitable, and that countries are moving away from “sporadic” green policies to “comprehensive national sustainable finance strategies”.

Speaking from PRI’s conference in Paris this week, chief executive Fiona Reynolds said the white paper shone a light on new trends in financial policymaking and indicated that investors, policymakers and companies had recognised the “imperative of responsible investing”.

“Our rapidly growing network of signatories is becoming more involved in the policymaking process in order to encourage and shape sustainable finance policy around the world,” said Reynolds.

“Now we’re seeing a move from sporadic adoption to comprehensive sustainable finance policies.”

Sustainable finance policies

PRI found 80 new policy instruments introduced across the 50 countries so far in 2019, showing that policymakers had responded to the “urgency” of sustainability issues.

Policymakers, the white paper says, “increasingly recognise that decisions made in the financial system influence the sustainability of the real economy and may even undermine progress towards environmental and social goals”.

Since 2016, acceleration of more ESG investment policies had been driven by the EU’s Action Plan on Sustainable Finance and updates to corporate governance and reporting requirements across Asia.

Multinational organisations, including the OECD, IOSCO, IOPS, the G7 and G20, have played a part by issuing ESG guidance.

PRI cites France as a key example of change in policy. In 2001 the country introduced the Loi sur les Nouvelles Regulations Economiques (New Economic Regulations Law). But the policymaking continued at regular intervals all the way up to this year’s Loi Energie et Climat (Energy and Climate Law) and the Lois Plan d’Action pour la Croissance et la Transformation des Enterprise (the Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation).

US lags on ESG

However, PRI notes that not all countries have pushed hard to form policy in favour of ESG principles, and identifies the US as an outlier.

“Recent policy pronouncements by the Securities and Exchange Commission create new impediments for active ownership by investors in US companies and the SEC had also announced plans to propose rule change later this year that are likely to further undermine investors’ rights.”

This stands in contrast to China, according to the white paper, where a group of government agencies combined to issue guidelines for building a green financial system.

State intervention on a national scale is a “significant driver” of change, the paper says.

“These strategies are significant because they contain substantive policy reform. But they also require policymakers to set out, often for the first time, how they understand the relationship between sustainability and finance, and the role finance is expected to play in addresses critical sustainability issues.”

And there is more policymaking on the way, adds the white paper, not least because, so far, global government action has failed to arrest the climate crisis. This means that “…as the realities of climate change become increasingly apparent, it is inevitable that governments will be forced to act more decisively than they have so far”.

To read the PRI white paper click here.

The post PRI report reveals global shift to national sustainable finance policies appeared first on Board Agenda.

[…]

‘We aren’t gearing our people up correctly’: Surf lifesaving criticised for focus on sport over rescue

High-profile members of the surf lifesaving movement have described a continual wrestle for resources between spending on sport and spending on rescue equipment.

[…]

Campaigners call for German supply chain law to protect human rights

German Reichstag, Germany

German companies are facing a new supply chain law designed to protect against environmental and human rights abuses in the production of the goods and services they buy.

This week a coalition of 50 pressure groups and civil society organisations—including Oxfam, Friends of the Earth and the German Trades Union Confederation—has called on Angela Merkel’s government to introduce a law requiring the country’s companies to uphold environmental and human rights standards wherever they do business in the world. And that means supply chains.

This should come as no surprise. Germany has a culture of campaigning on environmental and humanitarian issues. Plus the agreement between the current coalition partners—the conservative CDU and CSU and left-wing SPD—already includes a pledge to introduce laws on human rights protection in German supply chains.

But the new call seeks a supply chain law by 2020. That is an accelerated timetable and time is pressing. The next set of elections are due in 2021, meaning the current government will need to make progress fast.

Legal framework

According to Johanna Kusch, a spokesperson for the Initiative Lieferkettengesetz (Supply Chain Law Initiative), voluntary supply chain rules are not enough.

“Time and again, we hear reports of burning factories, exploitative child labour and devastated rainforests. It all goes to show that German companies are not going to voluntarily comply with their obligations.” What’s needed, she says, is a legal framework compelling companies to check on the behaviour of their business associates overseas.

The issue has become a hot topic in Germany. In 2012 a fire ripped through the Ali Enterprises clothing factory in Pakistan killing 255 workers, a facility that supplied the German high-street brand KiK. Meanwhile, German technical firm TÜV Süd has become embroiled in controversy surrounding certification of the Brumadinho dam in Brazil, which collapsed in January this year killing almost 300 people.

There is plenty of encouragement to take voluntary action on supply chains. The OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Companies and the UN’s Global Compact both offer principles and standards for use in supply chain management.

In the European Union, the Action Plan on Sustainable Finance floated the idea of mandatory rules that would require disclosure of policies for supply chain due diligence. However, MEPs have since asked the Commission to introduce rules for mandatory supply chain checks, while a study has been commissioned to examine the options and the likely impact on business.

Setting the tone

Not everyone sees mandatory obligations as a good idea. EcoDa, the European Confederation of Directors Associations, has argued that due diligence in supply chains could be counterproductive. Indeed, the organisation has claimed that enforcing due diligence could turn board directors into “legal departments”, distracting them from the essential work of ensuring sustainability.

Writing in Board Agenda, Béatrice Richez-Baum, director general of ecoDa, said that boards must “set the tone” but argued such a supply chain law would lead to “heavy bureaucratic procedures”. She added: “Any EU-level regulation of this matter should be confined to voluntary guidelines which should be developed in close cooperation with the companies concerned and be fully in line with already existing frameworks.”

If EU lawmakers are wavering, some believe events in Germany may have an influence. Juliane Kippenberg, associate director at Human Rights Watch, notes that German politicians will soon have much greater influence over EU policy. She wrote in a recent blog post that “German law could prove a positive influence across the European Union”.

“Germany will have the EU presidency in the second half of 2020 and would be in a great position to help pave the way for EU-wide mandatory due diligence, ensuring strong, rights respecting business practices in many more countries.” After all, why would German politicians give their own companies new obligations and ignore the opportunity to level the playing field across Europe.

Companies across the EU should keep a careful eye on developments. The supply chain discussion is now a fixture of the human rights narrative—and further rules and regulation are highly likely.

The post Campaigners call for German supply chain law to protect human rights appeared first on Board Agenda.

[…]

News story: Contacting the Redundancy Payments helpline

The Redundancy Payments helpline will be closed on Monday 16 September for the Autumn Public Holiday. […]

UK directors’ duties ‘include ESG responsibilities’ says legal expert

directors' duties, ESG

Debate over the precise implications of UK law on directors’ duties was given fresh legs this week with publication of a legal memorandum warning that failure to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors could constitute a breach of duty of care resulting in legal claims against a director.

The warning comes in a document produced by a company law expert at law firm Debevoise & Plimpton and commissioned by the not-for-profit Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

According to Fiona Reynolds, chief executive of PRI, the memorandum—aimed specifically at private equity houses appointing non-executives to the boards of investee companies—offers a timely reminder of a directors’ legal obligations.

“A company’s board of directors is a crucial lever for transformation and adaptation. As our private equity signatories look to integrate ESG considerations into all aspects of the investment process, they utilise their engagement with company boards to drive effective oversight of ESG risks and strategic planning for ESG opportunities,” she said.

“This guidance proposes a way to systematise that governance mechanism to ensure that our private equity signatories and their underlying investee boards are aware of their legal duties to have regard to ESG factors.”

The memorandum concentrates on the much-debated section 172 of the UK’s Companies Act 2006. Many observers argue that the provisions impose a responsibility on directors for ESG issues, though to date many boards and their directors may have interpreted the law differently. Many believe the section favours the interests of “shareholders” over “stakeholders”.

The memo, drafted by lawyer Simon Witney and released to coincide with this week’s PRI conference in Paris, considers two duties in the Act: the “fiduciary duty” to promote a company’s success, and the duty to “exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence” in acting as a director.

It argues that the law does not permit a director to take action that would “damage the financial success of the company”.

“That means that ESG factors should be used to justify a decision or the use of company resources only if such factors are relevant to long-term shareholder value (including because they pose a material risk to long-term value or, at best, if taking them into account is neutral as regards shareholder value.”

It adds that directors need not be convinced that ESG will affect a company’s risk, only that the risk is material and should be avoided.

Duty of care

When the memo tackles the issue of directors’ competencies it concludes that courts expect them to maintain the right knowledge base to fulfil their duties. “For a company affected by an ESG issue, this would suggest that the directors ought to have—or, at least, have access to–information about that issue and its likely consequences for the company,” the memorandum says.

It goes on to conclude that a “duty of care” requires directors to follow a process that ensures all “relevant factors”, including ESG considerations, are included in their decision-making.

The memo acknowledges that bringing a claim against a director for breaching their duty of care is difficult for a number of reasons.

“However, in extreme cases, failure to ask the right questions or to consider a factor which clearly could have an adverse impact on value for a particular company, such as (if relevant and material) climate risk or the risk of corruption or forced labour in the supply chain, could form the basis of a claim for breach of duty.”

The document also warns that recent legal changes have placed a spotlight on section 172, including requirements for a company’s strategic report to include a commentary on how directors have complied with their duties.

Not everyone is convinced section 172 can deliver focused attention for ESG issues, and believe “soft law”, such as governance codes, might be a better way forward.

Two years ago Dr Georgina Tsagas, a lecturer in law at the University of Bristol, blogged that continuing with section 172 as a “safeguard for stakeholder interests” is “futile”. She argued for significant changes to the UK governance code instead.
Last year’s new code included reference to stakeholders and a provision that directors report on how their interest have been “considered in board discussion” in the light of section 172 provisions.

As discussion over the role of business in tackling the climate crisis intensifies, directors’ duties in this area are set to come under ever closer scrutiny. The latest commentary will likely make a useful addition to the debate.

Read the full memorandum here.

The post UK directors’ duties ‘include ESG responsibilities’ says legal expert appeared first on Board Agenda.

[…]