Talking Sustainability in the Boardroom  book cover
1st Edition

Talking Sustainability in the Boardroom

ISBN 9781138495029
Published July 17, 2018 by Routledge
170 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

A Global CEO study by Accenture and the UN Global Compact has shown that 94% of CEOs think that their board should discuss sustainability. And yet there is a real danger that boards are not living up to expectations on sustainability, paying lip-service to the concept rather than fully embedding social and environmental issues into their strategies and operations.

Talking Sustainability in the Boardroom sets out why this is the case, identifies the obstacles, and then explains the opportunities for the long-term performance of the organisation that can arise through focusing on social and environmental issues. Written by two leading specialists in sustainability who have significant experience of working directly with boards, this book presents a very practical framework for embedding sustainability into board conversations and strategies. Steps include identifying and prioritising the social and environmental issues that are most pertinent to the organisation and will have the biggest impact on business, presenting the competences and skills to enable this, guidance on how to structure board meetings to ensure that these conversations truly take place, and the development of action plans and tools for measurement.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Philippe Joubert

About the Authors


Chapter 1. Why discuss sustainability at board level?

Chapter 2. How to insert sustainability into board talk?

Chapter 3. Board Composition & Competencies

Chapter 4. A dedicated Sustainability Committee

Chapter 5. Stages of Sustainability Governance


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Heiko Spitzeck is professor at Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil and heads the Sustainability Management Research Center.

Clarissa Lins is founding partner of Catavento, a private consultancy on corporate strategy and sustainability.


"At last! A comprehensive guide for boards, directors, managers, governance professionals and sustainability practitioners interested in elevating the board’s role in providing essential oversight over the firm’s sustainability risks and opportunities. This book is chock-full of practical advice, case studies with a touch of humour, making this book an essential and easy read for anyone serious about first understanding and then implementing sustainability in the board room. One of the most detailed and visionary set of ideas for embedding sustainability into board governance to date. I especially appreciate the emerging markets perspective. Long overdue."

Coro Strandberg, President, Strandberg Consulting, Canada

"Be careful what you do today! The decisions your board takes today will be evaluated by society´s values in five to ten years’ time. For all companies that might be feeling not up to the task, I recommend this book as a relevant guide to future-proof your organization"

Fabio Barbosa, Board Member at Itaú-Unibanco, Brazil, and Natura Cosmeticos, Brazil