Marketing Report
More than half of businesses yet to grasp the commercial opportunity created by climate change, survey

More than half of businesses yet to grasp the commercial opportunity created by climate change, survey

Kantar, the global marketing data and analytics company, together with the Climate Governance Initiative (the Initiative), a global network of non-executive directors in over 70 countries, have delivered a unique view into the state of climate action in boardrooms.

How can we advance climate action on boards? Reveals that globally, 86% of board directors regard climate transformation as a business opportunity. 9 in 10 say that the climate challenge requires new forms of leadership from boardrooms.

Based on survey responses and in-depth interviews with members of the Initiative’s network in 20 countries, the research reveals that 90% of board directors believe the board is responsible for driving the climate agenda in their organisations.

Positively, the vast majority (93%) feel that they are in a position to influence their organisation’s direction on climate. The majority are also personally motivated to act, with 84% saying they are either somewhat or highly engaged with the subject.

Despite this positive outlook, concrete progress lags behind ambition. Globally, just 40% of boards are currently doing some kind of climate-related reporting and over half of board directors have no plans to publish a transition plan (56%). The biggest barriers to action for board directors are lack of prioritisation, driven by a focus on short-term thinking. This is closely followed by knowledge gaps and a lack of financial incentive.

However, positive momentum is expected to accelerate. The number of boards doing climate-related reporting is expected to rise substantially from 40% to 72% in the next year. While 57% of respondents said that the climate is central to their business strategy today, 77% believe that it will transform their business model over time. Board directors are already making progress addressing climate change through business strategy, policy and reporting.

Alexandra Bolton, Director, Climate Governance Initiative: “This research shows that 9 out of 10 board directors believe it is their role to influence how businesses respond to the climate challenge, but many are held back by a variety of factors including knowledge gaps. The Climate Governance Initiative empowers board directors to accelerate the pace of change by enhancing their knowledge and skills in climate governance. The report shows that a majority of the directors who are highly engaged with our network feel that we have helped them take action in the boardroom. This important study provides crucial insight that will help us remove barriers to progress for board directors and make a real difference to the impact that boards can make to the climate crisis.” 

Jonathan Hall, Managing Partner, Sustainable Transformation Practice, Kantar: “The vast majority of board directors across the world see climate as a business opportunity. But importantly, they believe that realising these opportunities will require a mindset shift. Whilst it is great to see this leadership from the top, too many companies are still failing to unlock the opportunity presented by a transition to sustainable growth. Positively, it looks like we will see an acceleration in transition planning in the near future, and I’m confident that the board members engaging with the Climate Governance Initiative’s Chapters will be leading their companies in turning intention into action for growth built on a sustainable future.”

In February 2024, the two organisations announced their partnership to accelerate the pace of sustainable transformation among businesses, which saw Kantar become Climate Governance Initiative’s 2023 impact survey partner.