Transparency as a corporate sustainability tool

Nowadays, companies operate in a highly transparent environment where environmental or social weaknesses can quickly surface and directly affect company performance. In this context, however, transparency can also be seen as a tool that promotes resilience and the ability to adapt to adverse environmental or social events. Read our summary of the most important reports, surveys and studies that address the issues of women's equal representation in corporate governance, regulatory compliance, environmental sustainability, or the Sustainable Actions Index.

Take a look at other topics that we address in our EnviLaw newsletter #10:

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Unequal representation of women in corporate leadership

The issue of women’s under-representation in corporate governance is being addressed with high intensity worldwide, but the overall trend is improving only at a very slow pace. The overall representation of women in corporate leadership is still low and the Czech Republic is no exception. France is the best performer in terms of women’s representation, with women holding 43.2% of seats on company boards, while Qatar is the worst performer, with only 1.2%. In terms of sectors, the consumer and financial sectors are the best represented in terms of women in management positions.

The issue of female representation in corporate leadership was the focus of the seventh edition of the Deloitte Global Boardroom Program’s study in 2022. The survey shows that gender parity in top management will not occur until 2045 at the earliest, with the current proportion of women among chief executive officers (CEOs) at just 5%. While the number of women represented on corporate boards increased to 19.7% globally in 2021 (up from 17% in 2018), female representation declines as professional status increases.

Deloitte CLO and CCO Strategy Survey

Trust and transformation are the two key drivers of a quality corporate strategy, according to the 2022 Deloitte CLO and CCO Strategy Survey. Chief Legal Officers (CLOs) and Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) have always played a key role in building trust within a company. As business accelerates, they too are expanding their strategic focus. According to the survey, as many as 68% of legal and compliance executives claim to also be leaders in ESG strategy in their respective roles.

Once the firm establishes trust in selected areas, transformation can take place. As the survey showed, legal and compliance departments are increasing their influence and driving transformation across the company, using the aforementioned trust.

Driving a sustainable technology programme to accelerate organisational change

Can technology help organisations accelerate their climate and sustainability commitments to investors and customers? And how can Chief Information Officers (CIOs) spearhead this transformation? These very issues are addressed by the CIO Call to Action.

Customers, employees, shareholders, governments, and regulators are demanding greater ESG accountability from companies. Growing consumer demand for sustainability is driving a change in approach for companies across many industries. In particular, environmental sustainability continues to drive the boardroom agenda and has not escaped consumer attention in the context of climate change. A recent Deloitte survey found that 98% of consumers believe brands have a duty to improve the world. The survey also states that four in ten people prefer to buy sustainable goods. It also mentions the very interesting fact that 35% of executives from consumer goods companies believe that consumer attitudes directly contribute to a company’s sustainability direction, more so than the demands of investors, boards or other stakeholders.

The CIO is undoubtedly well positioned to map data for sustainability purposes, but his or her own technology strategy and leadership can have an even greater impact. Climate change experts warn that increasing production and reliance on technology enlarges the industry’s carbon footprint. According to a study by researchers at Ontario’s McMaster University, information and communications technologies alone will account for nearly 14% of global carbon emissions by 2040, a substantial increase from the original 1.5% in 2007. CIOs can leverage this warning to advance their sustainability agenda by demonstrating the environmental and climate impact of their own technology and transformation programmes, and cascading accountability throughout the organisation based on this information.

Deloitte Sustainable Actions Index

The new Deloitte Sustainable Actions Index shows how small changes in attitudes can lead to big changes in where people work, what they buy and what they expect from their leaders. The study explains what inspires individual and collective action towards sustainability and describes how close or far away a society can be from a behavioural turnaround, and what forces companies and governments can use to respond to pro-climate norms and drive wider adoption.

The study shows that 72% of respondents consider climate change to be an extraordinary event. Furthermore, 63% of parents surveyed feel worried or anxious about climate change, and 55% of childless adults share these concerns. Two thirds of 18-34-year-olds want their governments to do more to tackle climate change. This reflects the fact that young people want to act, not just wait idly for change.

Tackling the climate crisis requires systemic changes in energy, mobility, food, industry and other areas. This does not mean that individual attitudes and behaviour do not play a role. Changing social norms and behaviour can feed into the efforts of companies, or even governments, and ideally create positive feedback loops that can lead to tipping points that accelerate the adoption of change. For example, greater demand for climate-friendly products can stimulate not only an increase in the number of products, but also in their quality, and consequently lower prices through increased volume and reduced overhead costs per product. All of the above could have a positive impact on climate-friendly products and, as a result, increase their demand.

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