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Executive Summary


In the months preceding the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference, COP26, which took place October 31–November 12, 2021, the INSEAD Corporate Governance Centre and Heidrick & Struggles conducted a global survey of board directors. Our goal was to investigate how boards understand and are coping with the process of decarbonization and how far climate change has been integrated into their oversight responsibilities. In publishing the findings summarized below, we aim to provide fact-based, honest, and practical support for directors and their companies on the journey toward net zero.

Overall, the results of our survey revealed a clear disconnect between what board members say about the importance of climate change to their companies and what the boards actually do.

Read the Press Release

What the report revealed about boards' readiness in addressing climate change


Recommendations for Boards

Include climate change in the board's competency matrix and make sure the whole board has enough knowledge.


Add more relevant voices to your boardroom.


Change the board processess and dynamics - a responsibility for the chair.


Anchor your climate change strategy in social and organizational purpose and connect it to specific operations.


Integrate climate change objectives into executive compensation and search strategies, especially for the CEO.

This research study is jointly developed by:




The authors wish to thank Monica de Virgiliis, board chair, Chapter Zero France; the INSEAD Corporate Governance Centre team; and the Heidrick & Struggles team for their contributions to this report. They also wish to extend thanks to all those who responded to the survey and contributed to the realization of this study.

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