NACD and EY Issue Sustainability Oversight Guidance for Corporate Directors

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With sustainability oversight increasingly recognized as a board-level issue, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and EY today announced the release of Oversight of Corporate Sustainability Activities, the latest edition in NACD's Director's Handbook Series.

Sustainability & The Board

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The ways in which a company affects, and is affected by, major global trends such as population growth, an expanding urban middle class in emerging markets, demographic change, resource scarcity, and climate change – all of which fall under the rubric of "sustainability" topics as defined in the handbook – are increasingly at the core of board-management discussions about strategy, risk and performance.

"An increasing number of U.S. companies are producing sustainability reports. Yet less than one-quarter of the respondents to NACD's most recent survey reported that they regularly receive information from management on the company's sustainability programs, and over 43 percent do not receive any information at all," said Ken Daly, NACD president and CEO. "This handbook assists boards and senior management in establishing a clear understanding of their respective roles and expectations."

The handbook provides four key recommendations for enhancing the board's oversight of the organization's sustainability practices and reporting. It also offers practical tools such as questions to assess if the board is "sustainability-ready," tips for raising sustainability awareness in the organization, and a sample sustainability committee charter.

"Sustainability awareness has to start with the board," said Carol Casazza from the Ernst & Young LLP Climate Change and Sustainability Services practice. "The risk issues are so significant, with climate change, human rights, and other issues having a potential impact. But the opportunities are also substantial and need to be factored into the business strategy so that sustainability rises above the operational noise."

As sustainability issues are company-specific, boards and management teams will need to develop tailored approaches. Directors can adapt the recommendations set forth in the handbook based on their company's unique characteristics, including size, life-cycle stage, business strategy, industry sector, geographic footprint, and culture.

"Sustainability issues also are gaining traction with a broader range of investors," said Allie Rutherford, director of corporate governance in the EY Center for Board Matters. "Institutional investors are increasingly raising these topics as they seek to understand the potential longer term financial impact of sustainability on companies in their portfolios – and the level of board oversight. They are drawing attention to the topic and influencing corporate disclosure."

The handbook's recommendations will be discussed at a special session of the NACD Board Leadership Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on October 13 at 2:15 p.m. Visit for more information.

Oversight of Corporate Sustainability Activities is available at

About NACD

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is the recognized authority focused on advancing exemplary board leadership and establishing leading boardroom practices. Informed by more than 35 years of experience, NACD delivers insights and resources that more than 15,000 corporate director members rely upon to make sound strategic decisions and confidently confront complex business challenges. NACD provides world-class director education programs, national peer-exchange forums, and proprietary research to promote director professionalism, ultimately enhancing the economic sustainability of the enterprise and bolstering stakeholder confidence. Fostering collaboration among directors, investors, and governance stakeholders, NACD is shaping the future of board leadership. To learn more about NACD, visit To become an NACD member, contact Kelly Dodd at or 202-380-1891.

About EY Climate Change and Sustainability Services

Climate change and sustainability continue to rise on the agendas of governments and organizations around the world with rapidly evolving drivers and expectations. Your business faces regulatory requirements and the need to meet stakeholder expectations, as well as respond to the opportunities presented for revenue generation and cost reduction. This means a fundamental and complex transformation for many organizations and the embedding of climate change and sustainability into core business activities to achieve short-term objectives and create long-term shareholder value. The industry and countries in which you operate, as well as your extended business relationships introduce additional complexity, challenges, responsibilities, and opportunities. Our global, multidisciplinary team combines our core experience in assurance, tax, transactions, and advisory with climate change and sustainability skills and deep industry knowledge. You'll receive a tailored service supported by global methodologies to address issues relating to your specific needs. Wherever you are in the world, EY can provide the right professionals to support you in achieving your potential. It's how we make a difference. Additional information about EY Climate Change and Sustainability Services can be found at

About the EY Center for Board Matters

Effective corporate governance is an important element in building a better working world. EY's Center for Board Matters is committed to bringing together and engaging with boards, audit committee members, and investors to exchange ideas and insights. Using our professional competencies, relationships, and proprietary corporate governance database we are able to identify trends and emerging governance issues. This allows us to deliver timely and balanced insights, data rich content and practical tools, and analysis to boards, audit committees, institutional investors, and others interested in governance topics. Additional information about the EY Center for Board Matters can be found at

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

CONTACT: Media Contacts: Henry Stoever Chief Marketing Officer NACD 202-775-0509 Kathy King EY 202-828-8828 Kathy.King@fleishman.comSource:National Association of Corporate Directors