ecoDa newsletter – July 2020

EcoDan heinäkuun uutiskirje sisältää mm. tietoa uusista ja summauksen aiemmista webinaareista. Mukana myös linkki järjestön vuosikatsaukseen sekä ecoDan vastauksia Euroopan komission kuulemisiin.

  1. ecoDa’s Response to the European Commission consultation on the Non-Financial Reporting Directive

ecoDa has submitted a response to the European Commission’s consultation on the revision of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD). Along with it, a letter has been submitted highlighting certain key messages which are of particular importance for Europe’s future non-financial reporting regime.

Even if ecoDa shares the existing desire at EU-level of reinforcing the non-financial reporting requirements, ecoDa regrets that the consultation focuses too much on comparability at the expense of relevance. Indeed, seeking a far-reaching standardization is counter-productive as the relevance of benchmarks varies between sectors. For this reason, ecoDa would favor a sectorial approach which in addition differs for SMEs. ecoDa also stressed the importance of rating agencies and their growing influence on investors. One concern is that most of them are under American control.

Overall, ecoDa is fully aware of the crucial role that directors must play in order to set clear strategic objectives and ensure transparency in the debates.

  1. ecoDa’s Response to the European Commission consultation on the Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy

Alongside with ecoDa’s response to the EC consultation, a comment letter has been sent to draw FISMA’s attention to two major issues. The consultation does not seem to take into account the efforts of companies that engage on ESG matters. Secondly, the consultation focus on institutional investors disregarding at the same time other crucial investor categories (private investors for example).

In its responses, ecoDa favors EU guidelines enhancing long-term engagement between investors and their investee companies. However, it appears inconsistent to force institutional investors to act in conflict with their purpose. Instead ecoDa would invite the regulator to facilitate investor coalitions which could exert a more engaged and long-term ownership role.

ecoDa is neither supportive of prescriptive measures nor a «one-size-fits-all» approach. Indeed, establishing a mandatory share of variable remuneration linked to ESG criteria or a European framework for supply chain due diligence would be irrelevant in light of the variety of sectors, of companies (SMEs and VSEs cannot absorb the same administrative and cost burden as large listed-companies) and of maturity levels in Europe.

  1. Summary Report of ecoDa’s series of webinars on the Covid-19

During June, while the Covid-19 global pandemic was still gaining ground in various countries, ecoDa organised four webinars to support European board members in managing this unprecedented crisis.

These webinars examined the implications of the Covid-19 outbreak on board members and investigated the responsibilities of board members in disruptive times. The in-depth discussions, fueled by reflections from high-level speakers, covered a broad range of issues, ranging from how ethics can remain a priority, crisis-management challenges, to the importance of a dialogue between directors and stakeholders. One webinar also questioned the possibility of a deglobalisation trend.

This summary report compiled all inspiring thoughts and advice developed during these webinars in order to guide and inspire boards’ practices.

  1. ecoDa’s Upcoming Webinars

A joint webinar with AIG on cybersecurity (15 September):

Nowadays, cybersecurity is perhaps the most dangerous threat companies are facing, and the reality is that cybercriminals do not discriminate by size, and the aftermath of an attack can devastate small businesses as well as bigger ones.

The current environment makes it even more urgent to address the challenges of cybersecurity as cyber criminals around the world are capitalizing on this crisis to multiply their attacks. The crisis is transforming working methods in a way that is likely to be lasting, and means that businesses and board members must be all the more vigilant when it comes to cyber attacks.

Our panelists will discuss the issue and investigate how boards could integrate cybersecurity in their strategy to ensure the safety of their companies.

You can already register here.

A joint webinar with Crowell & Moring on whistleblowing (15 October):

During this webinar, our speakers will examine the new EU directive on whistleblowing, its legal implications as well as the resulting challenges. They will provide attendees with concrete advice and inputs from both a board member and a law stand points. They will bring an EU and US perspective.

You can register here.

  1. Fourth edition of the Corporate Governance Dialogue

ecoDa is pleased to inform you that the next edition of The Corporate Governance Dialogue will take place on September 29.

The focus will be on non-hierarchical organizations, a new organisational trend that implies a more flexible, decentralized, open and network-liked structure.

This topic is all the more relevant since the Covid-19 crisis has forced companies to move into a new type of organizations with flattened decision making structure and shorter reporting lines.

The Corporate Governance Dialogue operates as an internal think tank of ecoDa led by Prof. Abigail Levrau and supported by an advisory committee of experienced professionals. The aim is to reflect on the future evolution of Corporate Governance, the governance trends and challenges business firms and other organisations are confronted with. The discussion is restricted to a limited number of experts.

  1. ecoDa’s hybrid professional training 22&23 of October

ecoDa’s professional training session planned on the 22 & 23 of October has been reshaped to take into consideration the current challenges of the Corona virus. In order to fulfill the sanitary and social distancing requirements, ecoDa has changed the original format into a hybrid solution, both online and on-site.

As the number of participants on-site is limited, we invite participants to join us online. Smooth interaction between participants on-site, and participants online will be ensured.

If you are interested, please fill in the registration form here as soon as possible.

The finalised programme of the training can be accessed here.

  1. ecoDa’s 2019 Annual Report

ecoDa has published its Annual Report, which reviews the achievements during 2019 in working towards its mission of voicing the opinion of European directors and addressing key Corporate Governance issues.

The Annual Report sets out ecoDa’s key actions taken in the previous year ranging from its advocacy efforts to its educational program.