Article

The Audit Committee Frontier

Addressing climate change

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

Irish foreword

At a time when sustainability and climate change are at the forefront of all key business decisions, it is even more of an imperative that Irish Audit Committee Members are thinking the same to drive overall business value. To this end, I’d like to share with you our new global report examining how audit committees are—or are not—addressing the climate challenge. This report is the first in a series, titled The Audit Committee Frontier.

The survey of audit committee members spanning 40 countries revealed several obstacles standing in the way, 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 organisations address climate change.

I hope you find this report as interesting as we did in compiling it. Please get in touch if you have any queries on how the report may apply to your organisation.

Kevin Sheehan

Partner- Audit & Assurance, Deloitte Ireland

Report Overview:

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. 

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

 

The Audit Committee Frontier: Addressing climate change

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.

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