A NEW STUDY into board engagement with sustainability issues has revealed that less than half of those asked believed members were engaged with a company’s CSR agenda.
The study by MIT Sloan Management Review, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and the UN Global Compact surveyed 3,795 executives and managers from 113 countries sought to identify the key issues around board collaboration on corporate responsibility.
Overall, 86% of respondents said boards should play a strong role in driving their company’s sustainability efforts.
The study, Joining Forces: Collaboration and Leadership for Sustainability, also indentified ways to overcome barriers to board participation. Knut Haanaes, senior partner at BCG and co-author or the study, said: “They include appointing members with sustainability expertise, creating an external advisory board, integrating sustainability into the duties of the overall board and established board committees, and establishing a broader vision of the board as steward of all stakeholders and managers of risk versus the traditional maximising only of shareholder financial value.”
Ninety percent of executives said that businesses needed to collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders to address sustainability challenges. However, only 47% of respondents reported that their companies were actively collaborating.
In companies where boards are perceived as sustainability supporters, 67% of respondents rate collaborations as very or quite successful, while the rate drops to half of that for those firm’s where the board is not engaged.