Systems Rule - How Board Governance Can Drive Sustainability Performance

Ceres and KKS / May 2018
Bronagh Ward, Sakis Kotsantonis, Dylan Rees-Williams, Veena Ramani, Hannah Saltman

Sustainability challenges like climate change, water scarcity and human rights abuses put people, the planet and the global economy at risk -- and corporate boards have a critical role to play in driving the solutions we need to tackle these challenges with urgency and at scale.

So how can corporate boards oversee their companies in a way that ensures they are leading the way on sustainability?

To answer this question, we evaluated the board systems of the world’s largest companies and showcased the results in our newly released report, Systems Rule: How board governance can drive sustainability performance. We found that companies with robust systems for board oversight are better positioned for sustainability performance.

However, we found that while most large global companies say that their boards oversee sustainability, their systems are largely piecemeal. Our analysis also shows that companies with systematic approaches to board governance -- including the right mandates, the right people and the right incentives like executive compensation -- perform best on key sustainability measures.