Sustainability and governance, Italian companies at the top in Europe

The number of ESG committees on boards of directors is growing. An Altis and CSR Manager Network observatory says so

Sustainability is increasingly integrated into the corporate governance of Italian companies. In fact, in a growing number of companies, a committee has been established with specific delegations in sustainability issues within the Boards of Directors. Not only. The weight of ESG factors in remuneration schemes is also growing. On the other hand, expertise in sustainability issues within company boards is often still lacking. These are some of the main indicators of the Sustainability Governance observatory conducted by Altis and CSR Manager Network, which compares companies listed on the Ftse-Mib Italy list with those listed on comparable lists in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain.

Going into the details of the observatory’s data, it emerges that 35 out of 40 Italian companies, or 87.5% of the total, integrate sustainability into their governance structures having assigned an ad hoc committee within the Board of Directors. For comparison, in France this percentage reaches 72.5%, in the United Kingdom 65%, in Spain 40%, in Germany only 13.3%. Another interesting indicator that emerges from the observatory is that Italian companies are giving increasing space to ESG in the remuneration schemes of top management. Specifically, today 25 Italian companies out of 40 or 62.5% adopt this type of policy, compared to 40% in 2017, a figure that places us in second place in Europe behind France with 87.5%. A different story, however, regarding the impact of sustainability indicators on remuneration which is on average 15% for executives and 17% for CEOs.

Also with reference to skills in ESG issues within the Board of Directors, Italian companies show growing performance: around 57% of them have one director in six with specific skills. Fundamental in this sense were the specific corporate programs on ESG issues in which an average of 76% of the boards of directors participated. In addition, for 43.3% of Italian companies, professional experiences related to sustainability accumulated over the years are considered important, and for 30% of companies, training and technical-scientific skills are considered important. Finally, in 9 out of 10 Italian companies, or in 93.3% of cases, there is a sustainability manager who mainly carries out stakeholder management activities.