What does COP26 mean for board agendas?
- The consequences of global warming are phenomenal. We can’t plant more ice.
- Organisations are facing increased scrutiny relating to their environmental and social governance not just from regulators but from their employees and investors.
- The polar jet stream is weakening and organisations must understand that there is no place to hide on the planet. Everything is interconnected, including commerce.
- Boards should bring new people, especially young people, into their discussions; people who are really connected to the climate agenda.
- Becoming greener should not be seen as a threat to business, it should be seen as protecting global commerce and sustainable business and supply chains.
- Boards should see the purpose of business not just as shareholder value. We live in an interconnected world and not doing what we can to reduce climate change is an existential threat to all businesses and boards.
- The organisations that don’t embrace sustainability will fall behind and fail. Board must grasp the opportunities.
- A generational change must occur in the way we invest in organisations.
In this Lunch & Learn session, Byron Loflin, global head of board engagement at Nasdaq, Inga Relph, co-founder of Global Choices, and Zanagee Artis, a participant at COP26 and founder of youth-led climate justice organisation Zero Hour discuss how COP26 may affect boards and influence ESG policies. The session was hosted by Sharon Constaḉon, CEO of Genius Board.
The risks associated with climate change are squarely in the lap of business.
In the words of Dr. Patrick Soon-Siong, a medical doctor now focusing on vaccination, “we do not know what we do not know” and “we are probably past the tipping point” when it comes to the harm that we have done to the earth.
ESG means something different to everybody, and business has adopted many aspects of the ESG agenda. It is the “modern agenda” component of ESG that businesses should consider. Among the environmental issues businesses can own are how to source, supply, communicate, travel, transport, while considering the human aspects of our communities, as well as governance changes, new and existing.
Inge Relph was a senior policy advisor to ‘The Elders’, a group that included President Carter, Mary Robinson, Kofi Annan and Gro Brundtland, during the landmark COP21 negotiations and has advised the Vatican, the Commonwealth Secretariat and several governments.
Byron Loflin is the global head of board engagement at Nasdaq, where he leads board assessments and boardroom training for Nasdaq Governance Solutions.
Zanagee Artis, a student of Brown University, is also a founder and policy director of the global youth-led climate justice organisation Zero Hour.
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