As world leaders, investors and members of civil society meet in Paris to forge a new global accord on climate change, we are seeing a greater appreciation for the value of  systematically analyzing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors not only at the policy level, but also as part of shareholders’ holistic assessment of corporate strategies.

Beyond treaties and promises made at COP21, we can expect several long-term trends already in place to be accelerated. Amid calls for more curbs on emissions from vehicles and factories and a push for more resilient infrastructure, we can also expect the dialogue between corporations and their stakeholders on these issues to intensify. To that end, we again share Cornerstone’s proprietary framework to help companies integrate social and environmental issues into business strategy, and to assist all sides to push past stumbling blocks in achieving “The Shareholder Alignment Frontier.”

As we outline in the report, engaging with shareholders is an indispensable tool of corporate governance. It requires a thorough understanding of how stakeholder relations impact a company’s unique circumstances. And while opinions may differ, it is reasonable to expect that honest and open dialogue can eventually produce agreements about priority issues and strategies for addressing them.

—— Related Articles ——

What’s the future of ESG and impact investing?  I recently sat down with Impact Alpha’s David Bank for a wide-ranging discussion on sustainability, corporate excellence, and why questions are as important as answers.  This debut podcast in ImpactAlpha’s “ImpactVoices” series can be accessed here.