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Executive Compensation, Human Capital Governance, and ESG


Environmental, social and governance (ESG) and human capital governance (HCG) issues are emerging as top priorities in the boardroom. How should companies navigate in the evolving corporate governance landscape? What are the implications to executive pay design? What roles do the board and management play in driving a company’s ESG agenda and maximizing human capital potential? What does the future hold for compensation committees?

Our ground-breaking research provides a holistic perspective on how global ESG and HCG issues are addressed in the boardroom, shedding light on the evolving future of the compensation committee.

In the search for answers, our executive compensation leaders found that ESG and HCG discussions are largely focused on major economies in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. They are also dominated by perspectives from activists, institutional investors and professional services firms. To bring deeper insights into these important topics, we decided to launch a campaign to hear from board members directly. We are doing this in two ways:

  • A survey targeted at board directors globally, which explores questions in relation to aligning executive compensation with ESG and HCG. This survey will allow us to extract quantitative insights into the main issues facing directors.
  • A research project to be carried out through a series of interviews with compensation committee chairs and non-executive directors around the world. In these interviews, directors are given the opportunity to share with our executive compensation leaders their perspectives on the hot topics relating to stakeholder capitalism, ESG and HCG. This project will provide us with important insights into the content and direction of boardroom discussions globally.

We are excited to be adding to the catalogue of research on this subject, and to be leading our clients toward long-term, sustainable-value creation for all of their stakeholders.

A combined report highlighting the key findings from our ESG survey and non-executive director interviews can be found below.

Download combined report
Title File Type File Size
ESG and Executive Compensation report 2021 PDF 5.9 MB


  1. What are directors saying about ESG and human capital governance?

    Kenneth Kuk, Ryan Resch and Shai Ganu | September 24, 2020

    We spoke with 170 board directors around the world to hear their perspectives on company purpose, shareholder primacy, ESG, and human capital governance.


  2. Perspectives on purpose, profits and shareholder primacy

    Ewan Taylor, Jamie Teo, Manuel Montecelos and Trey Davis | October 13, 2020

    A well-defined purpose and balance among all stakeholders can generate sustainable long-term shareholder value; most want “and” not “or.”


  3. Perspectives and boardroom discussions on ESG

    Christine Rupp, Kenneth Kuk, Jessica Norton and Michael Siu | October 27, 2020

    ESG is not just about “doing good”; it’s a top business imperative. The board sees their critical role in driving ESG priorities and agenda.


  4. Directors’ views on human capital governance and culture

    Alex Lawrie, Daisy Jin, John M. Bremen and Don Delves | November 12, 2020

    Board directors around the world share their expectations on how boards influence their organizations’ culture and approach to human capital.



  1. 2020 ESG survey of board members and senior executives

    December 16, 2020

    Companies with strong ESG practices deliver sustainable returns. Learn how boards factor ESG into executive incentives and human capital strategies.


Contacts

Managing Director and Global Leader, Executive Compensation
Director, Talent and Rewards (Washington, D.C.)

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