Environmental Sustainability Increasingly Considered in the Boardroom

I recently read “Environmental Sustainability As A Board Issue”, an article by Dottie Schindlinger and Annie Kors of the Diligent Institute, published in the July/August 2019 issue of The Corporate Board. There’s a rising expectation that board members consider environmental issues, an expectation that the authors conclude is likely to continue at an ever-increasing rate.

The report from which this article was excerpted was looking for answers to three questions: “· To what extent do environmental and sustainability issues rise to the level of board consideration? · What compels directors to consider environmental and sustainability issues with their oversight? and · On a practical, structural level, how are boards overseeing environmental sustainability (who owns that function?).”

Research was based on responses from board members, nearly half of whom said that environmental sustainability was covered at least once a year in their boardrooms. Excluding nonprofits and government respondents, when company directors were asked about motivations for considering environmental sustainability for board level oversight, three rose to the top: societal impact, long-term viability, and reputational risk.

One of my roles at Northeast Delta Dental is to direct our business with the members of multiple boards, and I’m on the board of several community nonprofits, making me a student of board best practices. If you’re a board member, or interact with board members regularly, I suggest you subscribe to The Corporate Board. Then please let me know if you’ve found it valuable.

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