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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

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The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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Featured Pathways

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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

More pathways

Ready to get started?

PLANS & MEMBERSHIP

Our Platform

Expert led content

+1,000 expert presented, on-demand video modules

Learning analytics

Keep track of learning progress with our comprehensive data

Interactive learning

Engage with our video hotspots and knowledge check-ins

Testing & certification

Gain CPD / CPE credits and professional certification

Managed learning

Build, scale and manage your organisation’s learning

Integrations

Connect Sustainability Unlocked to your current platform

Featured Content

More featured content

The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

More featured content

Ready to get started?

Ready to get started?

Introduction to Sustainability Governance

Introduction to Sustainability Governance

Natalia Nicolaidis

30 years: General Counsel

In this video, Natalia explains the forms of sound corporate governance in the sustainability space for listed and private companies.

Competent

In this video, Natalia explains the forms of sound corporate governance in the sustainability space for listed and private companies.

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Introduction to Sustainability Governance

8 mins 6 secs

Overview

During times of crisis, sustainability governance can face challenges, despite the increasing importance of climate commitments and energy demands across industries. However, rather than fading away, sustainable governance is likely to receive renewed attention, particularly in the form of board reviews of corporate responsibility and resilience. In particular, areas that are susceptible to geopolitical risks, such as supply chains, could benefit from responsive and adaptable sustainability governance.

Key learning objectives:

  • Understand the drivers and importance of sustainability governance

  • Understand the different types of sustainability governance models

  • Understand the need for sustainability oversight and what it involves

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Summary

What factors are important for demonstrating sound governance in sustainability?

Demonstrating sound governance in sustainability requires a strong sustainability framework that is signed off by the Board of Directors, either as a standalone report or as part of the company's Annual Report. Interactions between the board and management are crucial in this process, as they focus on whether the company has taken an interest in sustainability measurements and whether they are regularly embedded into Enterprise Risk Management, as well as the evolving landscape of financial sustainability disclosure. The structure of the board also plays an important role, as it affects the board's value-creating contributions. If a Board Sustainability Committee is formed, expectations surrounding the quality of disclosure are higher, as this committee is responsible for overseeing and signing off on sustainability progress and metrics.

What is the role of scenario planning in the oversight of sustainability governance and how does communication and disclosure oversight contribute to effective sustainability governance?

Scenario planning is a key aspect of the oversight of sustainability governance by Boards and Board Sustainability Committees. By "thinking of the unthinkable," Boards can better assess risks and align strategic corporate objectives with emerging areas of liability, changing market dynamics, and investor priorities. Effective communication and disclosure oversight also play a crucial role in sustainability governance by enabling Boards and Sustainability Committees to ensure that information related to sustainability risks is publicly disclosed and comparable to that of competitors. Management reporting via transparent and readily available sustainability performance communication is key to sound sustainability governance, and hubs such as the IR function or a sustainability hub can facilitate this process.

How did the Rio Tinto case in May 2020 highlight the importance of appreciating the expectations of stakeholders?

The Rio Tinto case in May 2020 demonstrated the importance of appreciating the expectations of stakeholders, whether legal or regulatory, in sustainability governance. The case involved the demolition of the Juukan Gorge in Western Australia's Pilbara region by the Anglo-Australian mining corporation Rio Tinto to extract $135 million worth of high-grade iron-ore. The company's response to the incident, including high-powered resignations, demonstrated the power of increased stakeholder assertiveness. The Board and executives were held accountable for failing to meet environmental, sustainability, and governance responsibilities, and it was found that the Board was reluctant to challenge the CEO, leading to a major expectations gap and serious governance failure. Ultimately, Rio Tinto lost its social licence as a result of the incident, highlighting the importance of sustainability governance in meeting stakeholder expectations and avoiding negative consequences.

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Natalia Nicolaidis

Natalia Nicolaidis

Natalia Nicolaidis has spent 30 years in the financial services industry, including General Counsel to Investment Banking & Capital Markets and Head of Global Risks & Controls. She has founded Dynamic Counsel Ltd, a corporate governance and risk consultancy, and has a portfolio of non-executive board roles in four listed companies. She is a founding member of the Climate Governance Initiative - Greece, an organisation that addresses climate change from the boardroom prespective.

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