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.
What the report revealed about boards' readiness in addressing climate change
Climate change is now a firm fixture on board agendas.
However, when we asked about specific measures for addressing climate change, the outlook was less rosy.
Climate change knowledge is not prioritised as a required competency for board and CEO selection.
Recommendations for Boards
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.