Strong environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) business policies are critical to address the fluctuating, unprecedented risks in this changing climate. Any company planning to expand and thrive in the next few decades must evaluate its collective conscientiousness for social and environmental factors, including preparing for the social and market upheavals resulting from greenhouse gas emissions, gender and diversity policies, and shareholder interest in income equality. Implementing forward-looking ESG policies is vital to a modern company’s success, and its retention and management of a socially conscious workforce and investor pool.
Obtaining insurance coverage in this climate of activist shareholders
The evolving ESG landscape requires companies to plan for claims that did not exist just a few years ago. Shareholders are actively requiring boards to be more transparent and responsive to ESG issues, and regulators are enforcing new disclosure requirements. Sometimes disclosure alone is not enough: businesses are scrutinized by shareholders and regulatory entities for underestimating their environmental impact, or over promising their efforts to minimize climate change contributions, known as greenwashing.
Even companies doing their best in ESG governance face the risk of shareholder and regulatory litigation. These risks can be addressed by directors and officers insurance coverage, which generally protects companies, their directors, managers and employees against claims for a “wrongful act.” Unless excluded as a specific type of claim, companies routinely look to their D&O policies to address shareholder claims and defray the costs of regulatory investigations.