Until recently, board agendas seldom included environmental, social and governance topics, except perhaps for an annual presentation from management or an invited guest. For most companies, these issues were seen mostly as operational matters rather than strategic priorities.

Fast-forward to today, where the management crisis at Boeing starkly illustrates the consequences of neglecting critical ESG issues like safety and quality control. Such failures now cost directors and CEOs their jobs, bring intense public and legal scrutiny on their companies, and potentially endanger the lives of customers and employees — not to mention losing the trust of shareholders.

The world’s expectation of boards has indeed shifted from a focus on short-term profits to long-term sustainability and value creation. Markets are increasingly rewarding companies that take a multi-stakeholder approach to value creation. Such a stance has become a competitive advantage for those who choose to lead in sustainability governance.

Continuous education in sustainability, ESG and related issues is becoming a huge advantage for both existing and aspiring board members. Proactive leaders who invest in expanding their expertise are sure to emerge as front-runners in the race to navigate the complexities of today’s fast-moving markets. They will become catalysts for ethical integrity and operational excellence, pioneering new standards in corporate governance.

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