Speaker Insights

Catherine McCall Sustainable Business Summit Q&A

A Conversation with Catherine McCall, Canadian Coalition for Good Governance

Catherine McCall is the Executive Director of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (CCGG), which is comprised of representatives of Canada’s leading institutional investors. McCall is responsible for defining the CCGG’s strategy and leads the development of the annual operational plan. She is also in charge of policy development and research coordination. Prior to becoming Executive Director, she was the Director of Policy Development at the Coalition for 5 years.

Hear more from McCall at the Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit in Toronto on September 19 in Toronto, where corporate executives, influential investors, and prominent experts will provide a high-level look at the evolution of sustainable business and finance strategies in Canada.

What is the biggest challenge for boards that are trying to balance their fiduciary duty to their shareholders and their desire to incorporate ESG considerations in their decision-making processes?  

The biggest challenge for boards of Canadian companies is to remember that they owe their fiduciary duty to the corporation, not just to shareholders, and that directors, in meeting their duty to the corporation, must balance the interests of other relevant stakeholders like employees, creditors, and consumers. ESG factors may impact these various stakeholders differently.

What are the three most important things for board members to keep in mind as they work to manage the rise in shareholder activism and plan for the future?

  1. Know your shareholder base.
  2. Think like an activist shareholder, with a critical eye to the company’s strategy plan, performance, executive compensation, etc.
  3. Be prepared ahead of time for the company’s response in the event of an activist approach

What is the most common question you get from boards that are already involved in ESG reporting but want to do more? 

What sort of ESG information do shareholders actually want and need for their investment decisions?