Shaping the board’s strategic direction on climate

Publish date
23 Sep 2022
Reading time
30 mins

Updated 23 September 2022 with new guide: The Chairperson’s Guide to a Just Transition.

The Climate Governance Initiative and Deloitte, in association with the World Economic Forum, have produced four guides to help boards steer their organisations toward net-zero emissions. 

The guides include key insights from chairs leading climate action. They consider how key stakeholder groups are responding to a climate driven future and help chairs understand the decarbonisation roadmap. Each guide provides critical questions chairs and board members should be asking each other and their executive leadership teams.

1. The Chairperson’s Insights into Climate Action

The Chairperson’s Insights into Climate Action provides a summary of highlights from interviews with 16 members of the World Economic Forum’s Community of Chairpersons on the topic of climate action. It explores key issues and best practices for board members across strategy, risk and opportunity, stakeholders, board competence and operations in relation to climate. It provides answers to the complex questions posed during the interviews and encourages chairpersons globally to ask these questions of themselves and their boards, if they aren’t already.

2. The Chairperson’s Guide to Climate Stakeholders

The Chairperson’s Guide to Climate Stakeholders paper puts a spotlight on how key stakeholder groups are responding to climate change and how they might respond in the future. Chairpersons must be cognisant of the various economic and existential risks presented by stakeholder reactions to climate, whether they are foreseen or unforeseen. The guide provides tools for chairpersons to consider potential high-impact reactions to their company’s operations and gain a deeper understanding of how stakeholders influence each other. The paper helps navigate the complexities presented by a diverse stakeholder network and highlights the short-term trade-offs that boards will need to make.

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3. The Chairperson’s Guide to Decarbonisation

The Chairperson’s Guide to Decarbonization focuses on the role of chairpersons and boards in developing a robust climate mitigation strategy. The paper informs chairpersons of the foundational knowledge for why businesses must address climate change and provides a roadmap to thriving in a low carbon economy. Drawing on global case studies, the guide demonstrates the threats of not taking climate action, and the opportunities of embedding climate within company strategy.

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4. The Chairperson’s Guide to a Just Transition

As stewards of their organizations, board members have a duty to oversee effective management of the transition. It is crucial for boards to have a strong understanding of the just transition and its impact on key stakeholder groups by asking guiding questions, and highlighting exciting opportunities presented by the just transition.

The aim of this paper is to provide corporate board members with an overview of the just transition and why it is essential in shaping corporate strategy.