Season 5, Episode 9: The No BS Approach to ESG with James Bellerjeau

James Bellerjeau was General Counsel of an S&P 500 company for 20 years, and then Head of its Global Sustainability Program. He served as President of the Association of Corporate Counsel Europe and writes the Career Path column for the ACC Docket, the magazine for in-house lawyers. He is a Visiting Researcher at Georgetown University and teaches at the University of Zurich. He serves as an executive coach for newly promoted General Counsels and other senior executives.   

James is currently focused on applying principles of Stoic philosophy to live a good life and achieve satisfaction. Check out some of his thoughts on his blog at, where he writes about happiness, thinking and decision-making, and moving back to the U.S. after 25 years abroad. He's also recently published a modern version of Seneca's Moral Letters to Lucilius.

What happens when you get an ESG skeptic to run a global, public company Sustainability Program? Interesting things. For one, a strategic focus on creating real impact. For another, battles with stakeholders who each think THEIR issue should be in your strategic focus. Ultimately, you get the No BS Approach to ESG.   

James served for 20 years as the General Counsel of an S&P 500 company, a U.S. global multinational headquartered in Switzerland. During that time, he worked on the company's public sustainability reporting. How well did his GC role prepare him for then running the Sustainability Program for the coming 2 1/2 years?   

We'll discuss how (and why) James made the switch from the GC role to Head of Sustainability. What surprised him about the role. And why he thinks the ESG movement is headed for hard times.