What are the major challenges for boards in 2023? Allianz Australia chair Paula Dwyer FAICD outlines the biggest areas confronting boards right now and how they can adjust strategies. Dwyer is a speaker at the Australian Governance Summit next month in Melbourne. She will speak at #AGS2023 as part of a panel session on the topic, Building a Stronger Economy. Register for a ticket to #AGS2023.
The most immediate economic challenge for Australian is inflation, especially in terms of managing increasing input costs such as labour, according to Dwyer. “So operating in a higher inflation environment with accelerating momentum on inflation is a challenge.”
Dealing with inflation and managing through a globally challenging environment are high priority areas that all boards need to address, she adds.
Another major economic area is the question of energy transition. “I think that is the biggest systematic change probably in our lifetime,” she told the AICD in an interview.
“Moving from a carbon-based energy system to a decarbonised world, we have a huge role to play in that, in making sure our own emissions and utilisation of energy are responsible and consistent with global objectives. I think that we have a real role in advocating for national regulation and a legislative framework which is conducive to making decisions around the decarbonisation of Australia.”
Three issues for boards
People management, cybersecurity and ESG are three issues that boards are focused on in early 2023, says Dwyer.
“The breadth of responsibility of an organisation has significantly changed in terms of caring for people in the organisation and offering a diverse range of services to ensure that they are able to shine in their professional lives. So that occupies a lot of time around the table that I'm on.
Secondly, cybersecurity and all the consequences of automation and the security dimensions that go with that are front of mind for directors. “We've seen with the recent cyber attacks and breaches, heightened awareness around the board table in terms of how prepared are we should this happen to us, but also how do we protect and curate the data in our organisation to ensure we're not retaining records that are not required, are out of date and are not adequately protected?
“Thirdly, I'd say that a lot of our time is spent in thinking through ESG issues, but not just identifying the issues. It's making the issues relevant to the everyday business. “
Paula Dwyer at #AGS2023
Dwyer will take part in a panel session at the AGS on March 1 and 2 in Melbourne, Building a Stronger Economy. Also on the panel are Ian Hammond FAICD, Chair, Mission Australia and Don Russell, Chair, AustralianSuper. Register for a virtual ticket to #AGS2023. Dwyer was also profiled in the February 2023 edition of Company Director magazine.
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