The Climate Governance Initiative launches its inaugural Summit today urging board directors to tackle the climate emergency

PRESSSRELEASE: 

The Climate Governance Initiative launches its inaugural Summit today urging board directors to tackle the climate emergency 

  • An inaugural Global Summit starts today with a panel including former US Vice-President Al Gore  
  • The Climate Governance Initiative aims to mobilise non-executive directors in the face of the climate emergency with the support of a global network of national associations
  • Boards of directors play a critical role by ensuring the long-term stewardship of the companies they oversee.
  • View the programme of the Global Summit on climate-governance.org

London/Geneva, 23 March 2021 – The national chapters of the Climate Governance Initiative (CGI) launch today their inaugural Global Summit aimed at galvanising company boards into climate action. 

The summit will highlight the critical role that non-executive board directors (NEDs) should play to steer their companies towards a net zero carbon economy by 2050. 

Board members, regulators, experts, academia, and other corporate governance leaders from around the world are convening this week to understand and act upon the risks and opportunities the climate emergency poses to company boards. 


The audience will also hear the views of leaders from global companies and organisations such as BNP Paribas, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Siemens Energy AG, Petronas, Deloitte, Axa, Legal & General Investment Management to name a few. 

Among the speakers and panellists are:

  • Al Gore, Former Vice President of the USA and non-executive director
  • Jean Lemierre – Chair, BNP Paribas
  • Mark Tucker – Chair, HSBC Holdings plc
  • Bill Winters – Group CEO Standard Chartered Bank
  • H.E. Dr Bandar Hajjar – President, Islamic Development Bank
  • Emma Marcegaglia – Chair, B20
  • Angeles Garcia-Poveda – Chair, Legrand
  • Patrick Pouyanné, CEO and Chairman, Total
  • Diva Moriani – Board Member, Generali and Moncler; Vice-Chair, Intek
  • Punit Renjen – Global CEO, Deloitte
  • Claudia Sender Ramirez – Board Member, Telefonica and LafargeHolcim
  • Joe Kaeser – Chair of the Supervisory Board, Siemens Energy AG
  • Eduardo Bartolomeo – CEO, Vale
  • Tengku Muhammed Taufik – President and Group CEO, Petronas
  • Claudio Descalzi, CEO, Eni S.p.A
  • Leslie F. Seidman – Former Chair of Financial Accounting Standards Board and Non-Executive Director, Moody’s Corp 
  • Nigel Topping – High-level Champion for Climate Action, COP 26 

The summit is the first for the CGI, whose goal is to empower NEDs across the globe through education and climate literacy. 

At a time when the scrutiny of investors and society over the impact of climate change intensifies, NEDs need to be equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary to shape the business strategies they oversee.  


The adoption of the Principles for Effective Climate Governance, published by the World Economic Forum in 2019, is a key tool for NEDs, as well as a network of support to build their capacity. CGI and its nationally organised Chapters provide such a supportive network, enabling NEDs to engage effectively with the risks and opportunities of the climate emergency. 

There are currently eight established chapters in Brussels, Canada, France, Italy, Malaysia, Russia, Switzerland, and the UK with several more launching at the Global Summit. 

Karina Litvack, Non-Executive Director, Eni, Viridor, CFA Institute and BSR, said: “When it comes to climate, pressure on board directors is increasing. It is no longer possible for boards to say: “we weren’t aware”. Meeting the climate challenge will require tremendous bravery. For some it will mean complete business transformation.”

Litvack added: “Faced with this level of responsibility and complexity, experienced board directors know what they don’t know. They actively seek the education and information necessary for them to steer their companies through risk to opportunity – that’s why we founded this initiative.”

To access more than 25 sessions on the summit programme, from 23-26 March 2021, and to register please visitclimate-governance.org

Note to editors

The climate challenge: The urgent need to address the climate emergency requires governments and business to accelerate the transition to a new economic model, which seeks to limit global average temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, consistent with the 2018 recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

The Climate Governance Initiative (CGI) supports the growth of groups of board directors around the world to form networks, known as Chapters. The core mission of the Chapters is to promote the implementation of the Principles for Effective Climate Governance published by the World Economic Forum in 2019 by mobilising, educating and equipping non-executive director members with the skills and knowledge necessary to address climate change at board level. (http://climate-governance.org). The CGI is hosted by the Centre for Climate Change Engagement at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge which provides the role of secretariat.

Boards Impact Forum was launched in 2021 by a group of non-executive directors (NEDs) who recognised that they have a role in making sure their businesses respond to the risks and opportunities created by climate change. They could see that NEDs hold a unique position with the potential to make this happen, but to do so need relevant information tailored to their role in business. They decided to found Boards Impact Forum and build a community of Nordic NEDs who were equipped, ready and prepared to act. Boards Impact Forum is the Nordic Chapter of the Climate Governance Initiative in collaboration with World Economic Forum, and held its kickoff event on March 22 (https://boardsimpactforum.com )

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