New Survey Reveals Shake-Up in How Companies Address Stakeholder Interests

98% of boards report reassessing ESG strategies and 96% believe board diversity is a significant factor

NEW YORK--()--Today Women Corporate Directors (WCD), a global community of women who sit on corporate boards, released the results of a member pulse survey that found 98% of board directors have reassessed how their company addresses stakeholder interests within the past year. Additionally, 96% believe that diverse views in the boardroom greatly impact how companies address Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, which are key to creating long-term value and addressing stakeholder interests.

"Whether in the C-suite or the boardroom, the expectation of corporate leaders continues to evolve,” said Susan C. Keating, CEO of WCD. “How companies address stakeholder interests is an integral part of the transformation, resulting in an increased focus on ESG and DE&I issues, their symbiotic relationship, as well as their role in driving performance. At WCD, we welcome this shift and expect the trend to benefit companies and their stakeholders.”

Deborah Ellinger, director, WCD, Covetrus, iRobot, and Tupperware Brands indicated, “It has been demonstrated that diverse viewpoints improve performance. It’s more important than ever for companies to demonstrate what they are doing, how they are doing it, and provide valid data that verifies the journey and results.”

Other key findings from the pulse survey include:

  • Of the 98% of directors whose companies are reassessing stakeholder interests:
    • 73% stated the most important reason to focus on ESG issues is its importance to long-term performance and value creation.
    • 40% ranked Employee Health & Safety as the highest ESG priority in boardroom discussions, followed by DE&I at 29% and Cybersecurity at 21%.
    • 54% are confident that their company’s management team understands the business implications of ESG.
    • More than 80% said it is very important to align strategy and business practices with stakeholder interests to create sustainable, long-term value.
  • Of the 45% of directors who stated their companies are reassessing stakeholder interests to a great extent, 60% ranked DE&I as the top ESG priority in boardroom discussions.

"The events of the past year are moving ESG issues to the top of the boardroom agenda,” said WCD member, Marina Brogi, director at Mediaset SPA, Guala Closures Group, Fratelli Branca Distillerie, and professor of international banking and capital markets at Sapienza University in Italy, who recently spoke on the topic of ESG at WCD’s Global Institute event. “Diversity – at the highest level of leadership – is essential to navigating complex, sometimes competing issues to develop effective ESG strategies.”

“At the end of the day, boards should ensure that ESG efforts do not reflect a check the box exercise, but rather become woven into the strategic plan for the business, with key performance indicators to monitor progress,” said Mary Beth Vitale, director, WCD, Pareteum, Luna Innovations, and Pellera LLC.

This infographic provides a visual summary of the pulse survey findings. For additional information about ESG and boardroom diversity, visit

About Women Corporate Directors Education and Development Foundation, Inc.

The Women Corporate Directors Education and Development Foundation, Inc. (WCD) is the only global membership organization and community of women corporate directors. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the WCD Foundation has chapters around the world. WCD Foundation members serve on numerous boards of publicly traded companies, large private companies, and family-run businesses globally. For more information visit or follow us on Twitter @WomenCorpDirs, #WCDboards.

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KPMG LLP is the U.S. firm of the KPMG global organization of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. The KPMG global organization operates in 147 countries and territories and has more than 219,000 people working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.


For media inquiries, please contact Megan Mollan of the Dalton Agency at 954-600-2473 or


Release Summary

New survey finds 98% of boards report reassessing ESG strategies and 96% believe board diversity is a significant factor.


For media inquiries, please contact Megan Mollan of the Dalton Agency at 954-600-2473 or