WEF 2020: CEOs welcome pay alignment with ESG criteria

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Davos | Published: January 23, 2020 6:08:11 PM

With stakeholder capitalism gaining traction, the push to closely align executive pay to a company's performance on environmental, social and governance (ESG)-related criteria is gaining ground.

global companies Davos 2020, world economic forum, WEF 2020, ESG disclosures, ESG, universal ESG, environmental social governanceconsiders india fourth best company for growth survey presented in world economic forum annual meetingHere at WEF 2020 Annual Meeting, Pierre Habbard, General-Secretary, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said he welcomes the new Davos Manifesto to tie executive remuneration to corporate social responsibility. (Reuters)

A majority of global CEOs at the World Economic Forum have indicated their support for a proposed alignment of top executive salaries with the company’s performance on environmental, social and governance criteria. With stakeholder capitalism gaining traction, the push to closely align executive pay to a company’s performance on environmental, social and governance (ESG)-related criteria is gaining ground.

Here at WEF 2020 Annual Meeting, Pierre Habbard, General-Secretary, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said he welcomes the new Davos Manifesto to tie executive remuneration to corporate social responsibility. His constituents, he added, view the widening pay gap between bosses and workers as a social justice issue, which has undermined trust in business and contributed to rising income inequality.

He said the current model of aligning compensation to financial criteria can be manipulated by share buybacks, which burn a company’s cash for the short-term purpose of keeping up the share price. Maha Eltobgy, Head of Shaping the Future of Investing at the WEF, said the alignment of executive pay to some ESG-related criteria was widely supported by CEOs who participated in the International Business Council meeting in Davos to deliberate a set of metrics to help companies track performance against long-term priorities.

She said the mood was positive and a large majority of the CEOs indicated that they would publish the metrics in their annual reports. In addition to trade unions, investors are also expected to exert pressures on management in their attempts to limit potential liabilities relating to climate change, according to Katharina Pistor, the Edwin B Parker Professor of Comparative Law at Columbia Law School.

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