Perspectives

Facing the climate change challenge

The Chair’s perspective

In this research, Chairs from many of the UK’s largest public and private companies have shared a glimpse into their Boards’ activities in driving climate action within their organisations.

Themes from the research include:

Boards are increasingly aware of the challenges involved.

They are putting governance structures in place to ensure that long-term targets are met, long after their tenure as Board directors has ended − and even though in some cases the technology does not yet exist to enable targets to be met.

There is an overall sense of direction among stakeholders, although there are some conflicting demands.

Everyone is agreed about the need for businesses to meet the challenge of climate change, but some investors would like to see this achieved without any net effect on overall commercial performance and the bottom line.

Government and business need to work together.

Chairs call on government to provide a clear direction, to encourage favourable market forces and set a coherent long-term energy policy. There is a strong desire to enable a just transition that protects the most vulnerable in society from the economic impacts of change.

Boards play a crucial part in facing up to the long-term realities of the challenge.

Boards are working closely with management, holding them to account for managing risk, meeting targets and reaching milestones. The Board has a unique focus on the long-term nature of the task, setting clear milestones that extend far beyond the tenure of the current leadership.

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