Executive compensation needs to be linked to ESG performance which is driven by the imperative of multistakeholder capitalism and heightened attention to sustainability issues. This is the opinion of Xperien CEO Wale Arewa.

There has been a noticeable shift in corporate practices towards recognising the importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in driving sustainable growth and enhancing stakeholder value. This shift has prompted companies to rethink their approach to executive compensation, with an increasing number choosing to integrate ESG metrics into their compensation plans.

Arewa says businesses are increasingly acknowledging the importance of serving the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, communities, and shareholders. “This shift reflects a broader recognition that sustainable growth and long-term value creation require companies to consider the environmental and social impacts of their operations, as well as uphold high standards of governance.”

Executive compensation serves as a powerful tool for aligning incentives with these broader objectives and signalling a company’s commitment to ESG principles.

“More businesses are adopting different approaches to incorporate ESG considerations into executive compensation. These include the use of stand-alone ESG metrics, integration into business strategy scorecards, individual performance assessment, and modifiers,” he explains.

By aligning executive pay with ESG performance, companies seek to reinforce their commitment to sustainability, drive positive change in key areas such as diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) and climate change, and enhance transparency and accountability to stakeholders.

Despite the benefits of linking executive compensation to ESG performance, there are challenges and considerations that companies must navigate. These include the lack of standardisation in ESG metrics, concerns about transparency and effectiveness, and the need to carefully evaluate the materiality, durability, and auditability of ESG goals.

He says companies must also address scepticism regarding the ability of ESG goals to drive financial performance and mitigate the risks of rewarding the wrong behaviours. “To effectively integrate ESG factors into executive compensation, companies should adopt a rigorous and methodical approach.”

This involves identifying material and auditable ESG goals, benchmarking against industry peers, engaging with stakeholders, and periodically reassessing goals to ensure their continued relevance and effectiveness.

Companies must also communicate clearly with investors and other stakeholders about the rationale behind incorporating ESG into compensation plans and the expected impact on long-term performance.

IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) solutions offer a way to reinforce their commitment to ESG principles while addressing critical IT hardware management needs across various C-suite domains. For CFOs, ITAD facilitates the recovery of value from decommissioned IT hardware, optimising financial resources and reducing waste.

CMOs can leverage ITAD to donate obsolete equipment, thereby preventing electronic waste and contributing to community initiatives. CEOs and CSOs can utilise ITAD to generate impact reporting, fostering transparency and accountability while potentially selling refurbished hardware to staff, promoting internal sustainability efforts.

Meanwhile, CIOs can mitigate data loss and promote resource efficiency through the reuse of IT hardware, aligning IT practices with broader ESG objectives.

“By incorporating ITAD considerations into their ESG framework, companies not only demonstrate a holistic commitment to sustainability but also align executive compensation with the overarching goals of responsible corporate citizenship and long-term value creation,” Arewa concludes.

The integration of ESG factors into executive compensation represents a fundamental shift in corporate governance and accountability. By aligning executive pay with ESG performance, companies can signal their commitment to sustainability, drive positive change in key areas, and enhance long-term value creation.

However, achieving meaningful ESG integration requires a rigorous and methodical approach, careful consideration of materiality and transparency, and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. Ultimately, companies that embrace ESG principles in their compensation practices will be better positioned to succeed in an increasingly interconnected and sustainable world.