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Sustainability & Climate Change Community

Five steps to move boards from climate ambitions to action

Author: Chapter Zero

Published: 19 Aug 2022

The business and climate landscape will be significantly different in a few years’ time – and what boards do today will help determine how that looks.

It’s no secret that there’s a growing urgency for businesses to act decisively to minimise their climate impact in order to survive and thrive, and to harness the opportunities of the transition to net zero.

When it comes to the challenge of achieving a net zero economy, the role of the board will, more than ever, be to provide judgement in a rapidly changing, volatile context.

The power of the boardroom

At Chapter Zero we focus on non-executive directors (NEDs) and how they can use their roles in the boardroom to challenge, question, and encourage a just and well-managed transition as their boards navigate the ever-complex landscape.

Our 2,200+ members are part of a growing global community responding to the business risks and opportunities created by climate change, and we support them with practical tools and actions they can progress in the boardroom.

Taking practical action

Our Board Toolkit is based around five key steps that boards can take to ensure their businesses have a holistic, robust, and deliverable plan for reducing their emissions, responding to the opportunities of the net zero transition and the need for adaptation:

  1. Ensure the right board oversight
  2. Establish the need for change
  3. Set direction and plan the change
  4. Embed and sustain the change
  5. Monitor and optimise
Five steps for NEDs

It is specifically designed for NEDs, but also provides useful context and tools for boards to use as they move from climate ambition to action.

Access to this Toolkit, like all Chapter Zero content, is free of charge, so if you know a NED or board currently grappling with any of these five steps, please do share it with them to read more about each step.

It’s vital to have a clear understanding of where action is most needed to meet future ambitions. In step 2 of the Toolkit, board members are encouraged to use the Chapter Zero Board Scorecard to establish areas which need additional focus. Once completed recipients receive a PDF copy of their results, which our members have been taking to their boardrooms to use as a catalyst to encourage a deeper discussion, explore any differences of opinion and build alignment.

Keeping focus and staying informed

In the three years since the inception of Chapter Zero, we have seen vast changes, including shifting mindsets on the extent and pace of business transformation required, the increased need for collaboration, and a growing acknowledgement of how critical boards are to driving change.

However, unprecedented shifts in the external context in which our companies operate are making it hard to keep the focus on climate change. It is vital that we are not knocked off course, especially as many climate-related measures will in the longer-term help tackle the pressures around energy and food security.

We will face many difficult decisions when turning net zero ambitions into reality. Collectively and as individuals, staying informed is increasingly important as this landscape continues to radically change.

Calling all non-executive directors

If you know any NEDs looking for resources and support on climate in the boardroom, or would like to sign up yourself, become a member here. Chapter Zero membership is free of charge.

ICAEW has been a partner of Chapter Zero since it was established in 2019. 

*The views expressed are the author's and not ICAEW's.
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