The ESG Initiative at the Wharton School


CEOs Sharpen ESG Positions as Conservative Backlash Intensifies

Outlet: Bloomberg Law
CEOs at Home Depot Inc, Booking Holdings Inc. and other executives found themselves clashing with investors this proxy season as companies faced an unprecedented level of pushback on ESG policies. Companies faced increasingly thorny questions from shareholders over a wide range of topics including diversity, abortion, and climate change. Executives should be ready to prove the business case for their ESG policies, corporate governance experts say.

“Start connecting the dots for the investors and that’s going to help everyone, and then it’s not a red or blue issue,” said Witold Henisz, vice dean and faculty director of the ESG Initiative at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Be prepared for these questions and always link it back to the business case, because that’s going to be less politically polarizing.”