In this week’s episode, we dive deep into the critical intersection of law, ESG, and racial equity with our guest, Johnjerica Hodge. As a partner at Katten and co-chair of their ESG risk and investigations practice, Johnjerica plays a vital role in guiding companies through the complexities of maintaining their ESG and DEI commitments while facing legal challenges. We discuss the importance of supply chain inclusion and supplier diversity, as well as the evolving landscape of ESG in corporate practices. Johnjerica shares practical tips and insights for companies navigating these issues and emphasizes the need for continuous adaptation and awareness in the ever-changing ESG space.

Johnjerica Hodge is a partner at Katten and co-chair of their ESG risk and investigations practice. With over seven years of experience at the firm, she has handled various internal and governmental investigations, corporate compliance, and ethics work. Her work in the ESG space began last year when she realized clients’ growing needs in this area. Johnjerica and her co-chair, India Williams, started teaching a course on ESG at their alma mater, the University of Alabama, focusing on racial equity audits in the ESG paradigm. They have also contracted a publisher for an upcoming book on ESG. Johnjerica’s expertise in ESG, racial equity audits, and legal matters makes her a valuable resource for companies navigating the complexities of ESG and DEI commitments.

“Everyone is trying to get to a certain level. And so, some of the companies we speak with, they are very, very ESG savvy. They’ve implemented the policies, implemented the procedures, they are doing the monitoring, they feel comfortable, and they are near the forefront of the space.”
~Johnjerica Hodge


Today on Breaking Barriers:

  • ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) is a cross-generational topic that requires inclusivity in various aspects such as racial equity, age diversity, and gender diversity.
  • ESG is not just a concern for public companies but also for private companies, as research shows that companies embracing ESG are more profitable and have better outcomes in bankruptcy.
  • Small and diverse businesses should pay attention to ESG because they are part of supply chains and may need to meet certain criteria set by the companies they supply to.
  • Legislation, such as the German Supply Chain Act, requires companies to report on ESG aspects of their supply chain, which can impact small suppliers even if they don’t operate in that specific country.
  • In-house legal teams should ensure they have a strong grasp of their organization’s DE&I initiatives, including supplier diversity programs, and regularly update their policies and procedures.
  • It is important to stay informed about legal developments, such as court rulings and state attorney general letters, that may impact DE&I programs and supplier diversity.
  • Companies should conduct a risk analysis and consider making language changes to align their DE&I programs with legal requirements and mitigate potential legal risks.
  • ESG will continue to be a primary concern for companies in the next three years and beyond, as it impacts the bottom line and is influenced by global legislation and market trends.

Resources Mentioned:

Get in Touch with Johnjerica:

This podcast is brought to you by Hire Ground

Hire Ground is a technology company whose mission is to bridge the wealth gap through access to procurement opportunities. Hire Ground is making the enterprise ecosystem more viable, profitable, and competitive by clearing the path for minority-led, women-led, LGBT-led, and veteran-led small businesses to contribute to the global economy as suppliers to enterprise organizations.

For more information on getting started please visit us @ today!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review wherever you get your podcasts.

Apple Podcasts | TuneIn | GooglePlay | Stitcher | Spotify

Be sure to share your favorite episodes on social media and join us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.