Are today’s boards fit to lead the transition to net zero?

Since 2015, climate change has gone from being a niche technical subject to a must-have competence for company boards. What are boards doing to ensure that they have that competence is the focus of today’s discussion.

Gillian Karran-Cumberlege is a steering committee member of Chapter Zero, the UK director’s forum for learning about climate change, a corporate governance expert who is both an advisor to boards and a board member herself.

We talked about the importance of diversity on boards as a key to unlocking that climate competence – diverse boards do tend to be more curious and quick to learn on climate change. And how important it is for women – still only one-third of all boards in the UK – to not be invisible, to have a voice in the boardroom that goes way beyond asserting technical competence.

Change is coming to the boardroom, and it’s being driven by everything from the impacts of climate change on business strategy to Black Lives Matter to the COVID-19 pandemic. But is that change happening fast enough?

Gillian Karran-Cumberlege leads Fidelio Partners Board Practice, supporting Chairmen and CEOs in building effective Boards and Executive leadership teams which drive value for stakeholders and shareholders. In this context Gillian is actively engaged in promoting greater Board effectiveness through increased diversity. Fidelio is accredited by the Hampton-Alexander Review for its contribution to increasing gender diversity on Boards and leadership teams ‘Beyond FTSE350’.

An internationally recognised thought leader on ESG, Gillian is a Board and Steering Committee Member of Chapter Zero, which supports Board Directors to address climate change on the Board Agenda. Gillian is also an advisory Board Member of the German British Forum. Previously Gillian served as an Independent Board Member of Jaguar Land Rover India and a Member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Board (2015-2018).

Prior to founding Fidelio Gillian held senior executive roles within some of Europe’s leading corporates; this included Global Head of Investor Relations / Capital Market Communications for Volkswagen AG (2000 – 2007) sitting on the Group Governance and Marketing Committees – the most senior female executive globally. Previously Gillian had enjoyed a highly successful career in banking for example heading Group Investor Relations for UBS (1998- 2000). She started her career in Banking Supervision with the Bank of England.

Gillian has an MA in History from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and attended the Harvard General Management Programme.


If we look back to the last crisis 10 years ago, um, you know, boards were very much part of the problem and, and, and perceive to have created the problem.

I think this time in this crisis, you know, there is an opportunity for boards to be part of the solution, and that absolutely includes climate change.

Denise: Welcome to episode 6 of New Climate Capitalism, and today we take a look at climate change in the boardroom.

In the last few years, climate change has gone from being a bit of a niche technical subject to something that affects every aspect of the board’s work from strategy to executive compensation.

OK before I go any further, let’s pause and have a think about how much time it takes to get up to speed on any aspect of climate change. It’s totally overwhelming, right? The knowledge base is basically exploding. Just ask any scientist who has taken part in the last few cycles of the IPCC assessments.

Now think about board directors. They are busy, over-scheduled individuals. How much time can they devote to keeping up on climate change?

Which begs the question: are today’s board directors competent to lead that conversation?

To find out, I talked to Gillian Karran-Cumberlege, who is a steering committee member of Chapter Zero, the director’s forum for learning about climate change.

We had one of those conversations which got me thinking a lot more deeply about this subject, and every question I asked seemed to open up more questions:

What, for example is climate change competence if we’re thinking about a board? Is it about the ability to follow the science of climate change, or is it about keeping up with changes in regulations and reporting requirements?

Now Gillian obviously can’t reveal the content of any of these director-level conversations at Chapter Zero, but I think you’ll get a good sense of a space that is very much in transition.

Today we’re talking with Gillian Karran Cumberlege, and we’re going to be talking about climate change in the boardroom. Um, Gillian, welcome to the show. 

Gillian: Thank you, delighted to be here. 

Denise: So you’re Head of chair and board practice and co-founder at Fidelio partners, um, which is a board advisory and executive search firm based in London.

And you’re also a steering committee member of Chapter Zero, which is a director’s forum for climate change, which was launched just one year ago. Could you, um, tell me a little bit about your career trajectory and, and, and we’re going to talk about chapter zero today. So what that is and what its objectives are.

Gillian: Thank you. Yes, no, no, very willingly. My career to where I am today has been very much at the interface between companies and, and their shareholders. I led global investor relations for UBS and global investor relations for Volkswagen. So one of my big interests has always been governance and you know, what shareholders are looking for in terms of the boards and the executive leaders of the companies they invest in.

With Chapter Zero, we have a very clear focus on supporting boards, um, to be effective in their governance around climate change.

And also with Fidelio partners. Our mantra is to build boards fit for the future and it’s very evident that getting one’s arms around climate change and being able to think through that risk and also the opportunities is absolutely core to board effectiveness. 

Denise: So you’re not just, um, an advisor to boards. You’ve also sat on a number of boards yourself. Um, so I guess I’d like to ask you about, could you describe the winds of change that are really hitting boardrooms at the moment. I mean, this is the other side of the activist coin. To go on the other side of the fence and to look at this, the tremendous pressures and uncertainty that boards are increasingly facing. Uh, could you talk about that? 

Gillian: Absolutely. And I think a number of these trends have been with us for a long time. Um, but what we’re seeing is the pace of change accelerate, and we’re also seeing, um, some of those mega trends become intertwined.

Um, and certainly one of the, um, major themes that, that, that we see in boardrooms is, uh, that embracing ESG. Um, and just as a general observation, I think during COVID and lockdown, this could well have all gone on the back burner, but instead of that, I think boards are recognizing that, um, certainly the social piece, the societal piece of ESG is hugely important in the pandemic, but the environmental piece hasn’t gone away either.

And, um, to your question about, you know, the challenges presented for boards, you know, probably for the past 20, 30 years boards have operated on a model of principally shareholder value and doing the right thing. And we’re now moving to a phase where the voice of stakeholders has become so important and, you know, investors are absolutely recognizing this as well. Um, that ultimately it does lead to a rewiring of the business model. And I think that’s, you know, you certainly see that with climate change, that companies, as they begin to think through. Um, the implications of climate change for the business it actually leads to inevitably to quite radical changes for the business  and how it’s run.

Denise: Um, I think as I was, um, you know, preparing for our interview, um, it, it, I, I sort of, um, somehow developed some more empathy for boards. I think what we, the, the popular image of the boardroom is, is this male dominant, um, you know, uh, hard  talking ruthless kind of character, which is how they were portrayed in the 1980s. And in fact, I was amazed. I came across, um, the movie was made in Switzerland this year, uh, about mental health issues and suicide in the boardroom.

Um, so it, it really drives home the point that, um, it’s just more complex, uh, for, for, for directors today. 

Gillian: Indeed. And, I think there has been a shift. I do agree with you in both the reality of boardrooms and the perception, and I think, you know, if we look back to the last crisis 10 years ago, um, you know, boards were very much part of the problem and perceived to have created the problem.

I think this time in this crisis, you know, there is an opportunity for boards to be part of the solution, and that absolutely includes climate change and. If I look to the origin of chapter zero, um, a small group of non executive directors, um, and principally our chair, Julie Baddeley were looking to really activate UK boardrooms, um, to step in and recognize the challenge of climate change, make sure that it was firmly on the board agenda.

And so a year ago, Chapter Zero was set up simply to create a forum whereby non executive directors could prepare themselves, could learn what they needed to learn, to do their fiduciary duty, quite frankly, um, in the boardroom and to ensure that that they were asking the questions that needed to be asked, um, 

We’re a nonprofit organization. We’re backed by Hughes Hall  at Cambridge.

So I think we have that sort of science based background, um, where our membership is UK directors, board directors, principally in public companies, public company boards. Um, so year later, just over a year later, We have almost a thousand members and we’re going to break through that barrier very shortly.

And we have almost 50% of the FTSE-100 companies will have one or more board members who are members of Chapter Zero, so we have a very broad reach. Um, we also, we work in a very collaborative way. We have partners, um, in terms of major industry organizations, the CBI, the Institute of chartered accountants.

We also host, um, now webinars, we used to host physical events that were very well attended, and I guess one of the other things that we’ve done very successfully. It’s created a peer group of board directors who are keen to learn, um, keen to keep contribute. Actually, the sort of the volunteer snowballing mechanism of, of chapter zero is working very effectively.

I’m delighted that we are now seeing similar sorts of chapters opening up across the globe and it’s under the auspices, the ultimate auspices of, of the World Economic Forum and their climate change governance principles.

Denise: So, if I’ve understood this, this forum is it’s sort of like a network, a support group, a safe space for directors to learn, and also to learn from each other about, um, you know, how should they be handling, uh, the challenge of climate change in the boardroom.

Did anything surprise you? What kinds of questions are coming up a lot? 

Gillian: I think I was struck by the appetite for learning. So we’ve created a toolkit, for example, uh, we’ve also created the director’s climate journey and that sort of coincided with COVID. And so we could really see directors in lockdown using the time when they weren’t flying to board meetings or traveling to board meetings to actually work through these eight stages. 

I think the other point, and this is perhaps more of a personal observation. Um, at the outset, we were quite strongly female and I did have the sense that perhaps it was, um, some of the younger board members and the newer board members that were really picking up on the importance of this topic and the need for boards to move quite quickly on this topic.

As s we’ve grown, we’re now about 50-50. So that’s that that’s more balanced, although probably still skewed slightly towards female board members given that they, you know, women represent about a third of the FTSE-100. I think that’s probably a good thing actually, you know, we’ve been attracting those who are sort of bringing fresh perspective.

But equally, you know, we have five chairs, very experienced chairs who are supporting the business. And, and we’re also very focused on being relevant, um, for experienced  board directors,  because those roles of remuneration committee chair, chair, senior independent director are, critically important in the work of the board.

And so we do need to make sure that that, that they’re on board as well. 

Denise: So the gender point is very interesting. I was wondering about that because as I thought about, you know, the board members trying to come to grips with this incredibly complex challenge, um, there may be a gender question around the ability to just be humble and say, I don’t know.

Gillian:  I hesitate to fall into generalizations. Being the newer kid on the block, it’s probably easier to bring that sort of fresh perspective.

I do think that I agree with you that the most effective chairs are actually quite humble and you know, one of the great skills is being able to listen and also probably to have a real instinct for horizon scanning. So to be able to identify, you know, what might be a weak signal today, but that could be a major risk or opportunity, tomorrow. 

I think there might be another facet to this as well, which is, one of the questions that we are asked frequently is actually, how do we get this onto the agenda? And part of that is, you know, what are the frameworks we should be using, what, you know, being familiar with the regulation, being familiar with reporting requirements.

But part of it is, is also just the, sort of the almost psychological act, getting it onto the agenda. And I think that might also play a role. I think very often, um, women want to be very well prepared. Before they, um, will make a point. And, and I think, I hope that chapter zero has absolutely helped all board members um, but, but, but also female board members who are trying to get to that level of sort of expertise to give them the confidence to really put this onto the board agenda. But I think that’s not to be underestimated that sometimes board members need to find that point of entree, need to find that sort of, um, that hook. Um, and, and I think if we can help them there as well, that’s a very important contribution that Chapter Zero is making. 

Denise: Can we talk about technical expertise on boards. When we spoke earlier, you, uh, you made a really interesting point about the comparison between the UK and Germany. Uh, you said that, I think when you worked at Volkswagen, you observed that there’s a much higher representation of sort of scientists and engineer types on German boards, generally, as opposed to the UK.

And, and this is, this is, this is an issue. 

Gillian: One dimension of climate change is climate change competence. And we are beginning to see investors mean Schroders for example, has spoken very openly about climate change competence and one aspect of climate change competence is the science of climate change.

Certainly, again, as a generalization, but in Germany, the standing and stature of the engineer is perhaps different from in the UK. And if you broke down the composition of, of German boards, partly reflecting the sectors that are strong and, you know, there’s a very heavy industrial and, and, and, and engineering influence.

One of the things we probably will see, um, driven by climate change and the risks of climate change is that boards will begin to reflect the need to grapple with the sort of science based approach and science based targets. And whether that’s, you know, gradually making sure that boards are not too gradually, but making sure that boards have somebody that does have that insight or it might be through advisory boards. I mean, we’re also seeing that that sort of structure being used, if a board needs to come up to speed really, really quickly that it will bring in a, sort of a high level of expertise. But I do think we will see a shift towards not just the finance, um, but also the kind of the science base of climate change.

And that also raises the question where technology fits in, because I think technology has a major role to play. I think there’s probably going to be a linking up of the digital and the climate change competence, which will be critical in boardrooms if we’re really going to make some of the breakthroughs we need to do.

Denise: Is it becoming standard practice to pull together ad hoc science and technology advisory boards or groups or, is it just, you know, do these things happen on a one off basis when there’s a particularly difficult challenge?

Gillian: I’d say it’s increasing. I’m wearing my Fidelio hat now,   I mean, what  we see is boards are trying to get their arms around this very complex subject. And whereas it perhaps used to sort of sit in a corner in a neat box now it’s reaching out whether it’s climate change or ESG into every aspect of the board’s work.

And I think boards also have a choice either they are on the front foot and kind of driving where the company’s going and, um, how it’s, you know, it has a strong sense of materiality, kind of what’s our core purpose. And, and, and, and therefore we’ll focus on this. Or, you know, companies run the risk of just being on the back foot and absolutely inundated by reporting requests and, and, and, and, um, and they’ll those sort of lose the plot and drown under, under a sort of a weight of investor and stakeholder kind of reporting, which won’t necessarily help them to move forward. 

Clearly in climate change, understanding sort of the technical aspects is hugely important. And so, yeah, we do find that in a number of things, different ways, it might be individual board learning modules. It might be setting up an advisory board. Um, but the boards companies also at the executive level are certainly drawing upon, um, technical and scientific expertise because they need it to underpin their strategy.

Denise: How are directors dealing with this challenge of, um, increasingly needing to have a longer and longer term focus with all of these, um, net zero targets, uh, and yet having to cope with these short term reporting requirements and meeting the, the raft of changing regulatory, uh, uh, things.

Gillian: A number of shareholders and investors during COVID, for example, have said, you know, it’s not about the short term and on a number of issues. I think the sort of the plethora of reporting requirements  is an issue. And I’m glad that Mark Carney has recognized that and that there is work afoot to, to simplify and standardize. I mean, we will need to move to something that’s akin to sort of financial reporting if this is going to be, um, meaningful and, and, and drive change. 

But on, on your question about long term versus short term, I mean, I think boards are beginning to perform that role so much better.

And I think in this crisis, for example, you know, many boards, I was quite struck by, you know, many boards had the capacity to really support their leadership team, their executive team, keep the show on the road. But at the same time, the board was thinking through medium term and long term issues, um, relating for example, to remuneration KPIs and so you could see that the board was, you know, governance was beginning to function as, as it should function with the board providing that flex and that ability to make sure the short terms functioning, but also to keep an eye on the long term.

Denise: But so could you talk a little bit about the remuneration topic because that seems to be one of the big obstacles to longterm ism. 

Gillian: Yes, you’re absolutely right. Generally it’s become a huge hot potato. And I think the seat of the remuneration committee chairs has probably become the hot seat, um, in the boardroom and I don’t think we’re at the end of that debate is, is, is still running between, you know, I guess short term, long term, um, allocation to executives versus investors, distribution of pay across the whole organization. But then you’ve got this additional element that’s, that’s been sort of thrown into the mix and that’s, um, you know, we’ve seen that with the oil companies in particular where investors are saying  if, your strategic target is carbon transition, why isn’t this in any way reflected the remuneration and the incentives that  you provide to your top team. And so, you know, we’ve seen a big shift over the past couple of years of companies adopting, um, formal linkage, um, with, um, ESG targets or climate change targets.

And it’s completely the right thing to do, but it is going back to your point about the, kind of the need for, um, kind of the technical expertise. It’s also very challenging. I mean, you know, we talk about ESG, but there are very different targets within ESG and you’re not comparing kind of apples and apples.

Interestingly, I think climate change might be funnily enough, one of the simpler elements of remuneration and KPI because there is a framework developing of science based targets. You’re seeing quite important shifts. For example, you know, previously, remuneration had become, any form of remuneration was very much benchmarked and relative to everybody else.

I think many companies just kind of looking at their own absolute target and their own absolute pathway to, um, to net zero. You’re seeing this is moving very fast, very fast. And, um, I think the majority of boards want to do the right thing, but it’s interesting there, isn’t a simple template out there and I think there’ll be a lot of, um, kind of heavy lifting and, and, and quite hard thinking over the next sort of 18 months or so to begin to um, get these frameworks, um, meaningfully in place. 

Denise: 2020 has been a bit of a bumper year for shareholder resolutions on climate change on both sides of the Atlantic,  and lots of pressure coming from activist NGOs who were coordinating these resolutions and also from the big asset managers.

As an advisor to  boards, w w what is the sort of the playbook, uh, for directors today who, um, you know, who might be tempted to look at activists as the enemy and rather than a collaborator? How do you advise boards to be very, very strategic in the way they’re thinking about and collaborating with these initiatives?

Gillian: Well, I think that’s the answer really to, you know, to be strategic and it probably, uh, there’s a couple of things to think about. One, I think, any public company, um, knowing your shareholder register really well. I mean, it’s kind of a, it’s a 101, but the, but actually really understanding, knowing your shareholders, knowing what concerns them I think is, is, you know, sort of it’s basic hygiene is really important and, and, and too many companies perhaps overlook that. 

Um, and then when it comes to the, sort of the activist on the register, um, well, there’s a broad range of activism and that, and I think sort of, you know, governance teams, you know, like LGIM or whatever, voting on either climate change or diversity probably is quite a distance from some of the, sort of the more aggressive sort of forms of activism, 

Denise: but they need each other don’t they, they, they work very much together. 

Gillian: Yes, they do. 

Denise: The hardcore one cannot move without the, you know, the, the LGIM and the other big player. 

Gillian: No. Exactly. And I think, you know, to your point, we’re certainly seeing that capital is being mobilized, you know, and, and, um, whereas, you know, there was one segment of activism and probably still is, which is, which may be kind of more akin to a sort of financial engineering. There’s also activism around issues, which is, I think what you’re principally flagging here, which is, um, you know, whether the governance issues or climate change issues. I think, you can see that over the decades companies that deal with this well are good at understanding the issues, good at, um, uh, consulting, understanding, listening.

Um, but the other point that, that, that we, we discussed earlier, which I think is, is very important is, is to be clear in one’s own strategy what’s material. And this is another reason why companies need to be careful about the targets they set, because they sort of open up the door to activism by setting a target and failing to meet it.

And I’m not saying you should set the targets too low, but you should choose the right targets and you should absolutely communicate clearly progress towards those targets. And if that’s not being made really really bring shareholders with you in terms of, you know, keeping them all on board and, and communicating.

It’s absolutely clear that capital is being activated and that’s probably a very good thing because that is what drives change. But it is, as you phrased in your question, it is that strategic approach, which companies need to adopt if they’re not going to fall victim. And then the strategy has thrown off course.

Denise: I mean, it, it is an interesting, um, time for this. It seems as though, um, you know, for the last round, this year of all these resolutions, um, some of the companies were very much taken by surprise.

One would imagine then the next round they’ll be better prepared, but, um, I mean, what. Concretely can they do to, um, to not be taken aback and, and for it to be constructive rather than disruptive. 

Gillian: Well, I guess I think a large part of it is that engagement process. I do think, you know, there’s a couple of things that any board should be doing.

The board should absolutely be on top of how the company is engaging with its shareholders. Is it really listening? Is it aware of the themes that are really important to, to its shareholders? Um, because sometimes that’s sort of, you know, very much delegated to the executive and the board doesn’t really have a handle on it.

So I think that’s, that’s, that’s one area that I, that I think is, is really important. Certainly within Chapter Zero, you know, we do look at how investors are, um, constructing their position on climate change. What they’re looking for, what they’re expecting from boards. 

And you’re quite right. What you tend to find is if companies are caught off foot one year, the next year, then they’re much better prepared. And I think, certainly around. climate change, we are absolutely seeing the level of education, um, going right up. And I think, you know, some of the negative votes have been on the point you raised about, um, no linkage between remuneration and, and, and, and strategy.

We’re certainly seeing that the companies are working quite hard to fill that particular gap in their governance structure. 

Denise: I wanted to ask you to speak from your personal experience about being a woman board member. Um, uh, women are still very much in the minority on boards. I don’t know what the, you know, the latest figures are, but, um, how have things changed in the last 10 years and, and you know, where, where are we really seeing progress today?

Gillian: I think we are seeing a lot of progress. I think part of that progress. Depends on numbers. There’s this, you know, there’s a reason that the 30% club was set and I do think now that we’re beginning to get past the sort of women being a third of board members, for example, that changes behaviors. And it also means that you begin to change the, sort of the whole dynamic of the, kind of the succession planning. I still think we have a lot more work to do on female chairs. There’s far too few in the FTSE-100 and there needs to be focused there. Um, but I also think for all the progress we’re making, we just can’t take our foot off the pedal.

You know, we can end up sort of slipping backwards. For example, the gender pay gap reporting didn’t happen this year, um, because of COVID. Which you understand, but we just need to kind of make sure that, that doesn’t, doesn’t drop off the agenda.

And obviously, you know, one big wave of sort of social anger has been around Black Lives Matter, quite rightly and my hope is that, you know, this need for diversity, you know, the benefits of diversity. I mean, you talked about the different perspectives, um, can, can really be appreciated. I think sometimes achieving diversity is, is more, more challenging than organizations perhaps expect.

Perhaps more work needs to be done on enabling diversity so that you can actually achieve it. Um, uh, but, but, but I think to your point, there’s probably the appetite for learning about climate change probably is in some ways, connected to the increasing diversity that we’re seeing in boardrooms.

Denise: Um, I want to go a little bit further on this issue of women in boards. I’ve never been a board member myself, but as a woman in meetings, let’s say in business meetings, often women will feel nervous about taking up space with their point or with their question or whatever. And, um, depending on how a chair will run a meeting, women will often wait till the end.

It’s quite common pattern. You’ll see the alpha members of that group will sort of have a back and forth, which will dominate a big part of the discussion and women. So women may be represented, but they struggle much more to actually have a voice that’s heard by everyone and to have agency.

And I wondered if you have any advice on that or have kind of learned some things yourself about how to create the right kind of space for yourself and for other women to have that voice. 

Gillian: I think it’s tremendously important. And I think, um, you know, I think one piece of advice I would give to any woman is not just to focus on the technical aspects.

Often women can perhaps rely on being very good at what they’re doing, that that will carry them through. Owning the space in a way that’s true to you and authentic to you is, is, is hugely important. So understanding how that works. I mean, we, for example, at Fidelio hosts a program, “A Seat at the Table” , which is very much about being an effective board director, but we do absolutely spend time on, you might call them the softer factors of how you actually engage with other board directors, how you occupy the space, how you hold your own, the importance of eye contact, all these little things. I don’t have a silver bullet, but I think if there’s one thing to be aware of, it’s the point that you’ve made, um, that you shouldn’t ignore the social context and, and those subliminal factors that are going on that can be tremendously important as well.

I would say as you get towards more diverse boards. Um, and as you have, for example, more women in the boardroom that dynamic does begin to change. Um, but, but that would be the point I’d raise don’t underestimate. Um, and I think it’s quite good to ask questions. I mean, obviously you have to choose your time, et cetera, but do make sure that you, that you are visible. Being invisible doesn’t help. 

Denise: Um, Yeah. So there’s a lot, there’s a lot to think about it, isn’t there. Um, I wanted to ask you about this shift that’s ongoing from shareholder capitalism to stakeholder capitalism. I was reading this report from 2015 from I think the New Economics Foundation, uh, and, uh, I was amazed actually that the history of the corporation going right back to the 16th century, uh, shows that back then companies existed only to deliver public goods and profit was if anything, a secondary consideration. And so it feels like we’re almost coming full circle, at least at the level of what people talk about. What is your understanding of what stakeholder capitalism today and who is actually really practicing this?

Gillian: It was interesting for example, during COVID how companies were being scrutinized, how they behaved, whether they took furlough, whether they didn’t take the furlough and whether they paid a dividend, whether they didn’t pay a dividend, all these issues came right to the fore and boards had to navigate, you know what was the right thing to do?

And that’s really weighing up shareholder and stakeholder interests. So I do agree with you in some ways it’s also common sense that, you know, being a good company and doing the right thing. I think the piece that we’re living through now is that there are going to be some quite tough choices between the long term and the short term and perhaps between particular stakeholder or shareholder groups.

And I think that’s going to take. If we go back to the boardroom, I think boards are going to need to flex their governance muscles to really think through, you know, issues like: if climate change is important, are they really allocating the resource to it? Debates between efficiency and resilience.

Because in some ways this is all part of that shareholder stakeholder debate. I think this is just going to increase. I don’t think there are easy answers. I guess shareholder value seemed to have a real simplicity about it, but we’ve also seen the limitations of that.

And so I think we’re going to have to live with, but still better embrace the complexity of, of stakeholder value and that ESG model which is much rounder and richer. 

Denise: Um, what are the sort of the must reads that, uh, some of your members recommend to each other, you know, when somebody shows up and just says, wow, I, I really don’t know where to start learning about climate change. Um, You know, is there one book, is there a specific newsletter? Is there, um, a journal or a magazine? What are the most popular sources of information? 

Gillian: Well, I think one of the biggest challenges that we hear is that there’s so much information. People don’t know where to begin. And so I think that’s one of the, um, I guess the lessons that we’ve learned. 

It is sort of keeping abreast of the broad frameworks that are taking place, the regulatory frameworks, um, keeping abreast of, well TCFD companies will have to keep abreast of it. And our boards will need to become familiar with it. So I, I wouldn’t say there’s one particular source. 

Denise: Okay. Okay. And is there, is there a, you know, a book or a source that sort of changed the way you, you know, was there something that, what was your aha moment on climate change?

Gillian: I’m not sure I had an aha moment, I think sort of. Having worked in Germany for a long time, the green agenda was quite strong and you probably kind of imbibe quite, quite a lot of that. I think probably, um, Sapiens is, is, is a book that, that, that prompted a great deal of thinking about the fragility of where we stand. The fact that we should be acting to shape our trajectory. I mean, that wasn’t specifically about climate change, but you could see how damaging as a species we’ve been. And I think that for me was a very powerful read and I interpreted it as a reason to kind of act now and not just allow us to go on that sort of a trajectory, which is, which is pretty terrifying.

I think that will be sort of probably one of my aha moments, not specifically just about climate change. 

Denise: Thanks so much for coming on the show, Gillian um, if, um, you know, some of our listeners are, uh, directors, uh, whether in the UK or, or in another country and they, they want to join Chapter Zero or learn more about your work. What should they do? 

Gillian: Very simply go to our website, um, chapter zero.org.uk and, um, and register it’s it’s, it’s very easy to do, but if you are sitting on a, uh, the board of a UK company and are interested in learning more about the work that we do, but most importantly. Are interested about, um, ensuring that climate change is properly dealt with on your board agenda, please do go to our website and you’ll find all the material there and it’s very easy to access.

Denise: Well, thank you. Thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s been a really interesting learning, uh, learning about boards and you know, what’s happening there.

Gillian: My pleasure. It’s been a great discussion over there.

Denise: Thanks a lot to Gillian for coming on the show. You can find Chapter Zero on Twitter at @chapterzeroUK. To learn more about climate change and the boardroom, check out the resources tab for this episode at climatenarratives.co

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Many thanks to Valentine Scherer and Victoria Yates for their help producing this episode, and to Lucas Laufen for the theme music.

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