GLOBAL - The International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) has unveiled global guidelines addressing boards' oversight of risk as shareholders' representatives.
Carl Rosén, executive director at the ICGN, said: "Risk Management has long been the duty of the management, but risk oversight from boards and investors has been a blind spot when it comes to procedures. Risk oversight is defined as the board's supervision of the risk management process."
The guidelines provide principles and suggested practices - as opposed to prescriptive rules - to help investors assess how effectively a portfolio company's board oversees risk management.
They are based on a number of assumptions about the architecture of risk governance and the sequence and distribution of responsibilities.
The first is that the risk oversight process begins with the board. According to the ICGN, the board has an "overarching responsibility for deciding the company's strategy and business model" and for "understanding an agreeing on the level of risk that goes with it".
The second assumption is that corporate management is responsible for developing and executing an enterprise's strategic and routine operational risk programme, in line with the strategy set by the board and subject to its oversight.
And the third is that shareholders - directly or through designated agents - have a responsibility to assess and monitor the effectiveness of boards in overseeing risk at the companies in which they invest, as well as to determine what level of resources they will dedicate to this task.
In other news, the Carbon Disclosure Project's FTSE350 report has found that only one in 10 companies are engaging with policymakers to encourage policy action that drives climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Despite this, more than eight of 10 FTSE350 companies that reported to the project identified significant opportunities from climate change.
HSBC Holdings, Reckitt Benckiser, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Scottish and Southern Energy and Tesco were among the leading UK companies tackling climate change.
Thirteen companies from the FTSE350 scored highly enough to be recognised in this year's CDP Carbon Performance Leadership Index - meaning they were the ones with the highest performance scores, having demonstrated a commitment to strategy, setting emissions reductions plans, governance and stakeholder communications.