+44 (0)1223 330484

College centre empowers boards to act on climate

New research shows business leaders see a commercial opportunity in responding to climate change

Report from the Climate Governance Initiative is a window into company boardrooms and their thinking on climate change.

Four in five board directors see climate transformation as a business opportunity, according to the results of a global study of board directors carried out by the Climate Governance Initiative and its partner, Kantar.

The Climate Governance Initiative, based at the Centre for Climate Engagement, Hughes Hall, empowers board directors on every continent to take climate action by enhancing their knowledge and skills in climate governance.

Understanding board directors’ views on how climate is being progressed in boardrooms around the world is crucial to understanding how best to support them to accelerate the pace of change. The Initiative has published the findings of its survey of 440 board directors across 20 countries in a new report titled: How can we advance climate action on boards?, published jointly with Kantar.

“This research shows that 9 out of 10 board directors believe it is their role to influence how businesses respond to the climate challenge, but many are held back by a variety of factors including knowledge gaps. This important study provides crucial insight that will help us remove barriers to progress for board directors and make a real difference to the impact that boards can make to the climate crisis.” Alexandra Bolton, Director of the Climate Governance Initiative

While board directors are facing a challenging environment and must navigate a complex set of priorities, 93% believe the board is able to influence their organisation’s direction on climate, and 77% believe that climate change will transform their business model over time.

While belief in the importance of the board’s role in influencing the business’ direction on climate change is high, there is a lot more to be done to accelerate the pace of transformation in companies. Globally, just 40% of boards are currently doing some kind of climate-related reporting, although this is expected to rise substantially, to 72%, next year.

In the 29 in-depth interviews with board directors carried out as part of the study, board directors said the Climate Governance Initiative and its global network of 31 Chapters had supported them to take climate action:

  • ‘[They assisted me in…] setting up the ESG Committee and leading the preparation of the company’s first integrated report.’
  • ‘Their communication and education around transition planning… provided both a prompt and a framework for our internal discussions.’
  • ‘A very successful example of community building and networking. The group of people is extremely qualified, the topics are relevant and the working format works.’

To discuss the findings of the study, the Climate Governance Initiative held an online webinar and panel exchange with board directors from the United States, Poland and Malaysia on 16 April 2024. To watch the webinar on-demand, visit this page.