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White Paper: Corporate Boards Expected to Raise Profile of Sustainability

“The Responsible and Sustainable Board,” a white paper from consulting firm Deloitte, highlights reasons why corporate boards are expected to pay more attention to risks and opportunities associated with corporate responsibility, sustainability and climate change.

According to a press release, the report, based on a survey of  220 directors of billion-dollar companies, contained these key findings:

  • Seventy-nine percent of directors responding have a strong or moderate understanding of the business risks associated with corporate responsibility, sustainability and climate change.
  • Seventy-six percent have a strong or moderate understanding of the business opportunities associated with corporate responsibility, sustainability and climate change.
  • Almost one-half of directors think their boards and management are committed to addressing corporate responsibility, sustainability and climate change.
  • One-half of directors think their companies’ response to corporate responsibility and sustainability is integrated into business strategy and risk management, while 41 percent report no such integration.
  • Thirty percent of directors reported that their companies have set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; fifty nine percent reported no such commitment.
  • Almost one-third of directors think there is growing investor interest in their companies’ response to climate change/business sustainability issues, while 39 percent do not think there is growing interest.
  • Thirty-five percent of directors see value in having an environmental audit – measuring greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.
  • Thirty-seven percent of directors favor full-board oversight of corporate responsibility and sustainability, while another 37 percent indicated oversight should reside in existing board committees, such as risk committees (24 percent), governance committees (24 percent), strategy committees (22 percent) and audit committees (15 percent)
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