17 June 2020
Over the past month many business and public sector leaders have added their voices to the call to create a green recovery and put tackling climate change firmly onto the post Covid-19 agenda. Now is the time for Boards to engage with what the transition to a net zero economy means for them, to develop climate change strategies that go hand-in-hand with their business strategies, and to build back better.
Helping Boards deliver a net zero carbon-aligned strategy
The topic can seem impenetrable and overwhelming, which is why Chapter Zero’s mission is to arm non-executive directors with the resources and tools they need to respond to the climate challenge. Some Chapter Zero members find that “companies can set out an ambition and get climate change onto the Board agenda, but then they often struggle to move to the next stage of defining strategies and making them happen.”
Chapter Zero’s latest offering, Principles and Frameworks for Climate Change Strategy and Action, was developed in partnership with Eden McCallum as a ‘toolkit’ to do just that. It includes case studies from companies that have already started along the journey like Burberry, innocent, Sainsbury’s, SSE and Unilever.
The toolkit is divided into topics: prioritising climate change on the Board agenda; defining the strategy; and ensuring action. Each identifies the issues a Board might be grappling with, and provides practical help in the form of principles, good practices, frameworks, resources and examples.
The toolkit is relevant for boards at an early stage in the climate change journey, as well as those who have already started making progress. It recognises that there is no single ‘right’ answer; every company and Board needs to plot its own course, but there are common principles to guide that journey. Non-executive directors might also find it useful to share with their executive colleagues.
“Climate change is moving up the agenda for investors, customers, colleagues, legislators, the media… We had to recognise how much this issue was coming to the fore”
11 principles to guide climate change strategy
The core learnings have been captured in 11 principles, many of which will be familiar to any leader who has lived through or led a major change programme. A strength of the toolkit is that it urges Boards to look at the transition to net zero as a business issue to resolve, and Eden McCallum has reached into its own kit bag to provide helpful frameworks to do that. Liann Eden from Eden McCallum argues that “climate change should be treated as a major strategic issue for almost every company. The risks posed by physical changes and changing regulation, along with the resilience of the company to deal with shocks in customer demand and supply chains, should be boardroom issues. Broader awareness of climate change by customers creates opportunities to access new market sectors too. Climate change is not an add-on to business strategy, it should be embedded in the strategy.”
Julie Baddeley, Chair of the Chapter Zero Steering Group, says, “We are delighted to present this practical guide to tackling the business changes demanded by climate change and the net zero transition, which responds to the demand from our members for practical advice. This toolkit adds to the Chapter Zero tool-set, following on from the initial guide to assessing where your company is on the journey.”
“This was the only initiative in my 30-year career that united all 29,000 employees behind it”
Designed for sharing and reference to help drive corporate action
Principles and Frameworks for Climate Change Strategy and Action is designed to be ‘dipped into’ as and when needed by non-executive directors or by executive teams. There is a digestible executive summary at the start for the time-pressed; and then a wealth of information to reach into, all hyperlinked for easy access to the elements that are most relevant.
The executive summary and toolkit are publicly available for download here. Please do share.
“No one denigrated us for trying. Sometimes you have to just forge a way.”