Proxy season is here, and boards are anxiously listening to their stakeholders to hear what’s on their agendas. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities will feature more prominently than ever before.

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1. Stop the greenwash. The United Kingdom has formed a new taskforce that will write the rulebook for listed companies and financial firms regarding their plans to transition to a net-zero economy by 2050. These changes were first signposted by Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow late last year. The UK Transition Plan Taskforce will set out “rigorous and robust” rules so that companies have “investable and accountable transition” plans. The UK aims to be the world’s first net-zero aligned financial centre in order to attract investors.

2. Sharing is caring. Google has teamed up with the United Nations to make critical climate change information more accessible and digestible. When users type in “climate change” to the search engine, UN information (in 12 languages) will be high up the organic search results, along with infographics on the cause and effect of climate change, as well as tips for individuals on how to help address the climate crisis.

3. Are you ready, Player One? The Financial Times has come up with a brilliant way of getting more people involved in the climate crisis solution. The Climate Game has four characters to choose from — teen activist, entrepreneur, businessman and politician — who have to pick a pathway through various scenarios to reduce carbon emissions and, well, help save the world. Your target is to keep the global temperature rise at 1.5 C by 2050 and, just as in the real world, it’s not easy. It’s great fun, so give it a go.

4. Big Mac to go? McDonald’s is feeling the heat from a campaign led by activist investor Carl Icahn. He is trying to convince other big index fund investors to support his battle this proxy season for better treatment of pregnant pigs. BlackRock, one of those investors, is a particular target because although it has strong ESG credentials, he believes it is soft on animal welfare. The McDonald’s annual meeting where this issue will come to a head is slated for May 26.

5. Green power giant Amazon has accelerated its journey towards its sustainability goals. Last week, it expanded its renewable energy portfolio by 30%, with 37 new projects coming in Australia, Canada, France, India, Spain, UAE and the US, which include wind and solar farms. Amazon is out in front as the world’s corporate buyer of renewable energy. The company aims to be powering 100% of its activities with renewable energy by 2025 (five years early) and having complete net-zero emissions by 2040.

Mathew Loup is Competent Boards’ Director, Marketing & Communications. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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