Client Case Study

Corporate Governance

Developing an Integrated Governance model for UNEP FI


Client profile

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is a global partnership between UNEP and the financial sector. Over 200 institutions, including banks, insurers and fund managers, work with UNEP to bring about systemic change in finance to support a sustainable world. 

The challenge

The UNEP FI sought to better understand how corporate governance interacts with sustainability. They asked for our support in identifying which governance practices promote a durable culture of sustainability within firms.

Our solution

Our team examined corporate governance practices of Forbes 500 companies, to provide a snapshot of current trends. We analysed corporate governance practices based on a set of key indicators such as board oversight, sustainability expertise of directors and whether remuneration is linked to sustainability performance. We found that certain board practices are linked to better sustainability performance, providing the first concrete evidence that sustainability should be a board-level priority.

Key outcomes

Our team undertook extensive research to produce fresh insights and practical recommendations on the topic of sustainability and corporate governance. We developed a new model called Integrated Governance, a framework in which sustainability issues are integrated at the heart of governance agendas in a way that ensures value creation for the company and beneficial results for all stakeholders in the long term.

We presented our research in a report which illustrates the inadequacies of current corporate governance practices, and outlines the different phases needed to help companies move towards Integrated Governance.

The report was launched at the 2014 International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) annual conference. It continues to drive impact among key target audiences:

  • Aviva Investors and Aldersgate Group wrote letters to the UK Government to adopt our ‘Integrated Governance’ model when developing the next evolution of the UK Corporate Governance Code.