New research seeks to understand leadership shifts that will align success with sustainability

The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and global law firm DLA Piper have launched a two-year, global research collaboration to study the shifts in governance and leadership that will enable organisations to align business success with sustainability.

The Future of Boards study will combine existing academic and practitioner research with insights from board directors and key stakeholders across a range of jurisdictions, with the goal of producing practical, evidence-based, and internationally relevant recommendations to prepare businesses and their leadership for a more sustainable future.

Gillian Secrett, director of Leadership Programmes at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership commented: “The Future of Boards will take a systemic approach to research effective leadership of social and environmental risks, opportunities and impacts. In addition, it will explore how businesses can create long term value for society and the environment as well as for investors. This study will seek to bridge the gap between current board practice and future demands to identifying the most promising solutions and enablers of progress.”

Jean Pierre Douglas-Henry, managing director, Sustainability and Resilience at DLA Piper added: “The growing need to align purpose and profit has brought about a seismic shift in how we think about organisations and the role of boards. Although corporate governance codes and interpretations of fiduciary responsibility are evolving, there is a need for informed discourse around the individual, organisational and systemic barriers to progress and a set of practical recommendations to address them.”

Boards across the world are facing growing pressure and scrutiny by investors as the businesses they lead face new disclosure requirements and performance expectations about how they serve society and manage climate and nature-related risks and opportunities.

The group is looking for contributions from executive and non-executive board members as well as stakeholders with an interest in boards, such as advisors, recruiters and other experts from all jurisdictions. Interested parties may participate by visiting CISL's Future Boards Knowledge Hub.

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