Harvey Nash (who are a recruitment and executive search agency) has reported that:

Almost half of UK boards (46%) spent zero hours discussing climate change this year, and they are the least likely of all of the countries and regions studied in a new report to feel responsible for their impact on the climate – with almost a third (32%) feeling little or no responsibility.

At a global level, fewer boards are ignoring climate change in comparison to last year, with those board members spending zero hours discussing this issue in the boardroom falling to 40% from 55%. In the UK, the zero hours figure has reduced from almost two thirds of boards in 2018 (61%) to 46% in 2019, but the report says that progress is too slow.

These findings are published today (2 December 2019) in the sixth edition of the International Board Research Report, published by Harvey Nash / Alumni and London Business School’s Leadership Institute. The report is based on a survey of 640 chairs and non-executives from across the globe, of which almost a quarter (21%) are members of the boards of major PLCs. The report also included in-depth interviews with a panel of 48 experienced chairs and non-executives.

The data is surprising in view of the massive rise in awareness of the issue over the last year or so.

And it’s highly relevant in the context of the Corporate Accountability Network’s work on sustainable cost accounting. One of the biggest risks facing Uk companies is not being addressed by the boardroom. The chance that their accounts are true and fair does, in this circumstance, appear to be remote when even the UK Financial Reporting Council says that they have a duty to consider this issue. The need for compulsory accounting reform in this area appears even more compelling given the lack of attention being given to the issue voluntarily.

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