Hot ESG Topics for boards and executives to consider: are you ready?

We all are confronted with ESG topics, constantly, every day. But what is relevant for governance and deserves our attention? In the recent newsletter of SWIPRA Services, Barbara Heller and Christoph Wenk Bernasconi assess, qualify and comment on some of the current developments as well as expected challenges.

Boards and executives must understand how these developments, confronting their company from all sides, will eventually affect their organization’s business model and possibly require strategic transition:

  • A siloed approach to ESG by just allocating sustainability to a non-strategic “ESG department” will no longer be sufficient,
  • Companies must accept the challenging task of reconsidering the most fundamental aspects of their established businesses, and
  • Companies will need to move away from the currently rather short-term view and constant benchmarking by allocating resources for their long-term success, even if this may lead to a negative short-term impact on revenues and profits.

ESG-related challenges and opportunities need to be assessed alike – making the topic possibly the most important aspect of modern-day boardroom practice. Directors need to understand in particular that ESG regulations locally and internationally are affecting their institutional shareholders who may, in turn, impact day-to-day corporate life and reputation.

Download the complete Newsletter here.


Barbara Heller is member of the Board of Directors and the strategy committee of Graubunder Kantonalbank GKB (SIX:GRKP), member of the Board of Directors and member of the Audit Committee of Orascom Development Holding Ltd (SIX:ODHN), member of the Investment Committee of Transparenta Investment Foundation, Vice-Chairwoman of the Swiss CFO Forum, chairing the Jury of the Swiss CFO Award and Of Counsel at Lemongrass Communications. Until March 2021, Barbara was a member of the Board of Directors of Bank Cler Ltd and chairwoman of the bank’s Audit Committee and member of its Risk Committee.

Christoph Wenk Bernasconi is Partner at SWIPRA Services Ltd. He is a founding member of SWIPRA and responsible for the scientific approach of its projects and analyses. He is co-author of the SWIPRA Considerations for Corporate Governance and of the SFI Whitepaper on corporate governance. Further, Christoph is a Senior Researcher at the Department of Banking and Finance at the University of Zurich.