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The Audit Committee Frontier

Addressing climate change

Global survey finds audit committees around the world are unprepared for climate change.

This first issue of the Deloitte Global Boardroom Program’s new series, The Audit Committee Frontier, seeks to answer the question: What are leading practices for Audit Committees with respect to climate?

The report features findings from a survey of over 350 audit committee members spanning 40 countries, and revealed several obstacles standing in the way towards progress, each of which point to a broader sense of uncertainty surrounding climate and sustainability in the boardroom and companies at large. The report also details potential solutions for audit committees struggling to help their organizations address climate change.

In addition, The Audit Committee Frontier: Addressing climate change, brings together insights from Deloitte climate and sustainability specialists, as well as a collection of interviews with regulators, investors, and audit committee members.

Key highlights:

  • Most audit committees worldwide do not discuss climate on a regular basis, barely half consider themselves “climate literate,” and half do not believe they are well equipped to fulfill their climate regulatory responsibilities
  • Forty-two percent of respondents say they are disappointed in the strength and speed of their organization’s climate response, and 65% say their companies lack a clear strategy on climate.

Methodology

The first in Deloitte’s the Audit Committee Frontier series is based on a global survey over 350 audit committee members, across several countries, conducted in September 2021. The majority of respondents (56%) serve as audit committee chairs. Responses are distributed across the Americas, Asia-Pacific (APAC), and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
With respect to company type, 67% of respondents serve on audit committees at publicly listed companies, while 17% serve at privately owned companies, including family businesses.

About Deloitte’s Global Boardroom Program

The Deloitte Global Boardroom Program brings together the knowledge and experience of Deloitte member firms around the world to address critical topics of universal interest to company boards and the C-suite. Supplementing local geography programs, its mission is to promote dialogue among Deloitte practitioners, corporations and their boards and management, investors, the accounting profession, academia, and government. In addition to the publication of thought-pieces on critical topics, the Deloitte Global Boardroom Program hosts a series of must-see webinar discussions with eminent panelists to enable boards and management of global companies to challenge perceived wisdom.

Global Audit & Assurance

Informative climate reporting requires a complex transformation of reporting processes, of data collection, education of the finance function, and in many cases, of the audit committee itself. Yet, despite the urgency and magnitude of the task, many boards are hesitating in the face of inconsistent standards, fragmented global standard-setting, and myriad expectations from investors. The good news is that the World Economic Forum has identified a set of global ESG reporting standards which businesses around the world, including Deloitte, are increasingly adopting as part of their own reporting processes. Deloitte is committed to improving clarity and transparency of reporting to elevate the trust and expectations placed in us to create an impact that goes beyond the expected.

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