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BCLP Partner Kenneth Henderson was quoted Nov. 29 by Bloomberg Law regarding pandemic-related workforce safety and the role of corporate boards. Worker safety and human capital have emerged as top environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns for investors and corporate boards. The topic took center stage recently when Amazon settled with California over employee COVID-19 notifications – the first of its kind with a company over the state’s new COVID “right-to-know” law. Ken said workplace safety is rightly within institutional investors’ and other stakeholders’ growing focus on human capital and other ESG topics. “You could imagine institutional investors, many of whom are very focused on ESG issues, raising the question with the board and senior management, ‘What are you doing to comply?’” he said. And while some have called for more ESG specific expertise among directors so they can better understand workers’ concerns, Ken noted that boards don’t necessarily need to be subject matter experts to tackle workforce concerns and other ESG issues. They just need directors who know how to ask the right questions. “Boards for years have dealt with issues that require experts,” but that doesn’t mean directors have to be experts themselves, he said.

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