Posted on December 22 2022
In a recent survey from PwC of board members, two-thirds of the women surveyed said reducing the impact of climate change was a priority, "even if it impacts short-term performance." This is a stark contrast to the only 45% of male board members who said the same thing.
This may have to do with women being more connected to the climate crisis globally, according to Cara Wilson, a 15-year veteran of the financial communications industry. In a recent editorial in the Financial Times, Wilson notes the climate change disproportionately affects poor and marginalized communities, and women make up much of the world's poorest population.
Women are also more likely to provide for a household's food and water, which makes them particularly sensitive to food and water insecurity.
For these reasons, and many more, Wilson argues that women should have a bigger seat at the table if we're going to have a fighting chance against climate change.
Wilson says, "Climate change directly and disproportionately affects women. Their unique perspectives and experiences of both the challenges and solutions is a clear argument for the participation of women in leadership roles."
While the PwC survey seems to back up Wilson's claims, it appears that simply having more female representation on boards isn't enough, as boardrooms across the globe are deprioritizing climate action.
The survey found that only 57% of directors said ESG issues were important to company strategy, down from 64% last year. And only 45% of directors think ESG issues boost performance, down 9 percentage points from 2021.
To top it off, barely 1 in 10 board directors said environmental or sustainability expertise was important for their board.
The percentage of mindshare around climate issues in the highest levels of business is disappointing. By bringing more women to the table, we may be able to shepherd in a new era of climate prioritization, but that alone won't be enough.
As with everything related to the climate crisis, there is no silver bullet. We must all do our part in addressing this crisis and encouraging real change around the world!