Corporate executives and directors play an important role in ensuring the companies they lead do their part to support climate resilience. Climate change is expected to have far-reaching consequences for companies, economies, and our societies. Yet, not all leaders have the climate literacy to meaningfully respond to these urgent risks and opportunities. Here are some helpful resources you can share with your executives to support them.
How to help your company’s leaders take meaningful climate action
Businesses around the world have a key role to play to help avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Leading companies are responding to these calls and emerging regulatory obligations to embed climate risks and opportunities into their strategic planning and decision-making. They are working to reduce their impact using climate-focused scenario analyses and risk assessments, climate-related performance disclosure, credible climate goals and position statements, and climate-aligned financing.
If you want to support your company’s executives in meaningfully integrating climate considerations into operations and decision making, here are some helpful resources to share with them.
1. Cover the basics
To ensure your company takes climate change seriously and allocates the necessary resources to the work of developing and implementing a climate strategy, it is crucial that your company leadership and the Board understand the significance of climate change and the specific physical and transition risks it poses for business. This Guide for Corporate Leaders and Directors will help them to understand the science behind climate change, why climate change matters to your company, and what actions your company can take to accelerate the transition to a net-zero, climate-resilient future.
2. Analyse climate scenarios to evaluate risks and opportunities
When your company is starting to develop its climate strategy efforts, it is necessary to understand how, specifically, your company may be affected by climate change. The Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommends that companies develop hypothetical scenarios to highlight the central elements of a possible future and to foster critical strategic thinking around climate change. The TCFD’s Recommendations report and Technical Supplement provide in-depth information and tools for using scenario analyses to understand the implications of climate-related risks and opportunities to your organisation.
3. Set meaningful climate targets
When your company is preparing to set meaningful climate targets, benchmarking research can help executives in your organisation to understand what leaders in your peer group and across the globe are committing to. Jocelyn Timperly’s article on knowing when you can trust corporate climate targets will help you evaluate the goals you find and detect greenwashing. When your company is ready to crafts its own goals, the Embedding Project’s Goals Database and step-by-step article on setting strong sustainability goals are a helpful resource. And the Science Based Targets initiative can help your executives to develop their emissions reduction goals based on the latest climate science.
4. Establish effective oversight of climate performance
The most significant climate impacts on your organisation may not materialize until the medium or long term. To ensure your company’s climate strategy does not get undermined by other, more pressing priorities, it is crucial to equip your company’s board and leadership with the tools for effective oversight. This World Economic Forum and PwC paper proposes tools that support boards to navigate climate risks and opportunities, with principles designed to increase directors’ climate awareness, embed climate issues into board structures and processes, and improve identification and navigation of climate-related risks and opportunities for business. CPA Canada’s Climate Change Briefing contains 20 questions directors can ask management about how they are adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
5. Deliver on your climate goals
What does it take to actually deliver on the climate strategy your company has set? This McKinsey article covers what they found helped companies across the globe and in various industries succeed with their carbon reduction initiatives. They found that even the exercise of setting goals is an important step for companies in the overall journey. They also found that aggressive targets may actually help spur strong emissions reduction performance!
If you’re ready for more, explore our website for these and other resources on developing embedded sustainability strategies, corporate position statements, and other free, practical tools and guides for corporate sustainability change agents.