ESG strategy and oversight in Indian boardrooms

| Institute of Directors, India

Executive Summary

This survey provides a comprehensive understanding of the current state of ESG integration in Indian boardrooms, explores the challenges faced by companies and identifies best practices and emerging trends. It further highlights how important ESG has become for Indian Corporate Directors, how they are integrating ESG in their strategies and what mechanisms have been installed to oversee its implementation. The survey targeted board members, senior executives and professionals involved in ESG initiatives across various industries in India. ESG has become a crucial foundation for assessing a company’s performance beyond financial indicators in recent years. Organisations’ dedication to sustainability, social responsibility, and strong governance is receiving more attention from investors, regulators, customers and other stakeholders. As businesses strive to incorporate these factors into decision-making, boardrooms can serve as stewards of this transformation.

The world has witnessed pivotal events in the ESG industry over the past year. Be it in terms of strategy, action, oversight or simply conversation, ESG is a growing concept on boards’ agendas. Indian Corporate Directors are optimistic about ESG, and mostly view it as an opportunity.

From earlier research, we are seeing that the full board usually takes overall oversight for ESG-related issues and factors. It is also worth noting that specialised ESG Committees are primarily seen as a committee for the environment, with little oversight responsibility for social and governance components of ESG. Further, focus on ESG is mostly in terms of environmental and social components in general. When directors start discussing ESG, they usually discuss the environmental and social aspect of it. There is usually less emphasis on the governance component from what we are seeing.


IOD India and Diligent Institute surveyed a total of 104 directors comprised of Board Chairs, Non-Executive Directors and Executive Directors spanning private, pre-IPO companies listed companies, not for profit companies and more. Out of all respondents, around 38% were from private enterprises and 40% were from public/listed companies.

The survey was largely attempted by Board Chairs, Managing Directors and Executive Directors. It also saw encouraging responses from Company Secretaries, Independent Directors and Consultants. Profile of the respondents, categorised on the basis of number of employees, market capitalisation, respondent organisation, and respondent profile are enclosed as Annexure 1 (please check the report).

This survey gained more than 17000 impressions from the Indian corporate sector. The target population for the survey was Indian Board Directors and Key Managerial Personnel (KMPs). However, responses from senior executives of companies were also recorded and analysed.

Key Findings (Indian Boardrooms)

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About the Author

Institute of Directors, India

Institute of Directors, India

The ‘Institute of Directors’ (IOD) was established in India in 1990, as an apex professional association for Directors in India under the Societies Registration Act, XXI of 1860 to fill the need for professional development of Corporate Directors and building effective Boards. It has since grown to associate with more than 30,000 senior executives from Government, Public and the Private sectors of India and abroad.   Headquartered at New Delhi, IOD, remains as India’s leading organization for directors and at the heart of the Boardroom community. Learn more at