Larry Fink & Joe Kaeser: Climate competence becomes a Greta question for supervisory boards

Klimaschutz Aufsichtsrat

This figure has given us pause for thought: According to a study, only 22 percent of managers believe that their supervisory board pays comprehensive attention to climate protection. We therefore fear that multi-supervisory board member Barbara Kux (Henkel among others) is right when she states: “In the minds of many supervisory boards, the environmental issue has not yet been properly addressed” (see Handelsblatt commentary “How supervisory boards can learn from Greta Thunberg”). Joe Kaeser’s failed attempt to sign Fridays for Future activist Luisa Neubauer to the Siemens Energy Supervisory Board also shows that companies have a hard time getting climate competence on their boards (and sometimes it seems more about PR than good governance). This is dangerous, as demonstrated by the German government’s climate package and the agenda of the new EU Commission: Climate protection will profoundly change the markets and our society.

Chapter Zero: Climate training offensive for inspectors

In addition, the latest appeal by Blackrock CEO Larry Fink impressively underlines that investors are taking a closer look. Heads of supervisory boards must therefore put the issue at the top of the agenda. But how can they provide more climate competence? In our view, the decisive lever is training and further education. We find the initiative Chapter Zero, which was launched by the “Climate Governance Initiative” of the World Economic Forum, particularly exciting: Supervisory Board members deal intensively with the effects of climate change and climate protection on their industries at tailored workshops and conferences. The aim is to bring the findings and the debates to their committees. There are Chapter Zero initiatives in Great Britain, France, Italy and Malaysia, Karina Livack from Chapter Zero told us. And also in Germany there will soon be a “Chapter”. We are curious.