The time is now! With the UK hosting the global climate conference this autumn, countries are committing to dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Which means they are making commitments on behalf of you and your businesses. What does this mean for your future?
Between now and the Glasgow Climate Conference in November, we're all going to hear a lot more about why action needs to happen quickly. The UK government has already set a target to reach net zero by 2050, but international scientists remind us that this means we need to half our emissions by 2030 to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Halving emissions in less than 10 years is a big ask. For many businesses that might be one or two capital investment cycles, it means that supply chains are likely to look very different, it means that customers are going to be expecting very different things of your products and services. And while the average tenure of an incumbent CEO or a NED might not reach quite that far, for most business leaders this isn't something that's going to change after your retirement, this is change that you're going to be leading.
This is why B Lab UK, Institute of Directors, Chapter Zero and other partners have launched Boardroom 2030 - a campaign to get Boards up and down the country talking about what the world will be like in 2030, and what their companies need to do to prepare for the imperatives of this decade.
Boardroom 2030 invites Boards to step out of the here and now to think about how they can make themselves fit for the future
The campaign is all about asking Boards (or senior teams where a Board structure doesn't exist) to do two things:
Commit to have a discussion before the climate conference;
Hold that discussion in a different way to help generate new thinking.
What's it all about?
The aim is to support Boards to explore new styles of thinking - for this one meeting at least - to take a longer and broader view of their business. This involves actively discussing what the world could be like in 2030, what their business could be like in 2030 and also what their Board could be like in 2030. And then contemplating whether they are prepared for this future, just nine short years away.
The point of this is to encourage enlightened self-interest to bubble up. This is a decade of change, and the unprepared will not prosper.
The approach that the Boardroom 2030 campaign is calling for can be described along the following lines:
Boards frequently discuss risks, and sometimes those risks will include existential and mega-risks, they will also talk about trends and how to pivot their business to make the most of new opportunities. The Boardroom 2030 campaign suggests putting these discussions front and centre in a special meeting, really interrogating them from multiple angles and placing yourself squarely in 2030 to do so. This isn't just about a fun role-play of the future, but really trying to understand the scenarios that you need to actively prepare for.
Boardroom dynamics is such an important aspect of good governance, but there are dangers around group-think that the campaign suggests can be broken down by inviting a wider range of parties to the table. Actively inviting stakeholders to participate as equals in the discussion - including staff, young people, customers or clients, people from the communities you operate in. They even suggest having an empty chair to remind you that there are other important stakeholders who aren't represented in the discussion.
We've all become used to meeting virtually and so location has become less important for many of us, but our physical environment can shape so much of our thinking. That's why Boardroom 2030 is encouraging us to locate the meeting somewhere that will encourage future thinking. Perhaps somewhere with historic significance for your company, so you can imagine looking back on today from 2030 just as you look back on your company's past. Or in a college or university to surround yourself with the leaders or tomorrow. Or on a fragile coastline that may not survive rising sea-levels caused by a heating climate.
How to take part
Boardroom 2030 has an activation pack that can be downloaded from their website, which gives a range of ideas that your Chairperson, CEO and Company Secretary can use to plan the meeting. But if you want a little more help, then 600 strategy can provide you with a package of support to help you though the planning, facilitating the meeting itself, and ensuring the follow-up decisions are put into practice.
David Cope is our Chief Progress Officer. He has run the strategy and governance teams of some high-profile organisations, overseen the operation of Board meetings and strategy days, and has sat on several Boards himself. David is a B Leader, helping businesses become B Corps, and supports organisations in putting purpose at the heart of their strategies. David is an experienced facilitator and enjoys working with senior teams to help them focus on the topic at hand.
If this sounds like it could be of interest to you, why not get in touch for a conversation? We don't do the hard sell at 600 strategy, we just love speaking with business leaders who are interested in putting purpose at the heart of their strategies and making the changes that are required to achieve their missions.