The most important emergent risk confronting UK companies is Climate Change* Chapter Zero launches in the UK as part of Global Climate Governance Initiative.

Its goal is to support and prepare Non-Executive Directors to address the risks and opportunities presented by Climate Change in UK Boardrooms.

London, 24th June 2019

Mitigating the effects of climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the corporate sector globally. For example, the global investment manager Schroders estimates that FTSE 100 cash profits could reduce by £50 billion annually as a result of measures which will be necessary to combat climate change.*

Today Chapter Zero: The Directors’ Climate Forum is launched in the UK as part of the World Economic Forum Climate Governance Initiative. Recognising the scale of the challenge facing UK companies, and the need to take action rapidly, the purpose of Chapter Zero is to enable Non-Executive Directors to:

  • develop their knowledge of the implications of climate change
  • understand better how it will affect their companies
  • and bring an informed contribution to the Boardroom in order to shape individual company responses to climate change

Chapter Zero will establish a network of members – Chairs, Committee Chairs and Non-Executive Directors – who are interested in accessing high quality research and practical resources on climate change, as well as sharing the best practice Board-level response.

The move is supported by Mark Tucker, Chair of HSBC; David Tyler, Chair of Hammerson; John Kingman, Chair of L&G; and Sarah Bates, Chair of Merian Global Investors and Polar Capital Technology Trust. Chapter Zero is in discussion with other FTSE Chairs.
Mark Tucker, Chair of HSBC said:
“Climate Change is not only one of the biggest challenges facing UK businesses today, it is also a huge opportunity. Meeting the challenge and making the most of this opportunity depends on corporate Boards being well briefed and committed to focussed action. This is not confined to resource companies and car manufacturers. It affects all corporate sectors.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI commented:
“Delivering a net zero economy by 2050 will require urgent action from businesses across all sectors. Companies must respond to growing demand from investors and customers by making climate change a Boardroom priority. Firms that act now will not only play their part in avoiding the devastating impact of climate change but also steal a march on their competitors.”

Michael Izza, Chief Executive of ICAEW added:
“The climate emergency represents the greatest risk of modern times. Business has a fundamental role to play in leading our way out of this crisis through the transition to a zero carbon economy. Independent Non-Executive Directors are an essential part of our corporate governance structure, including through the Audit Committee, and it is imperative they can make an informed and critical contribution. Chapter Zero will help ensure that the climate emergency is front of mind when Boards make their decisions and that it is not just left as an agenda item.”

Chapter Zero is supported and hosted by Hughes Hall, Cambridge, which critically provides access to cutting edge climate change research being undertaken by Cambridge University.

In addition, leading industry bodies including ICAEW, the CBI, the Royal Institution and The Carbon Trust are also supporting this important Board initiative. Chapter Zero is also collaborating with a range of professional services firms.

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Chapter Zero Steering Committee:

  • Julie Baddeley, Chair
  • Carol Bell
  • Rosemary Boot
  • Susan Hooper
  • Robert Jennings
  • Gillian Karran-Cumberlege
  • Karina Litvack
  • Patrick Mitchell
    – Ends –

*Source – Climate Change: Redefining The Risk (Carbon VaR) Schroders. £50 billion represents the change in annual EBITDA between (i) today’s EBITDA (cash profits) and (ii) the estimated level of EBITDA for UK listed companies after carbon prices rise to $100/t. If companies are valued on a fixed multiple of EBITDA (i.e. doesn’t change as a result of the carbon price effect) then the impact on the value of companies would be that EBITDA multiple times the lost EBITDA

The purpose of Chapter Zero is to help Non-Executive Directors become more familiar with the potential risks and opportunities for businesses covering the full spectrum of commercial activity as a consequence of climate change. We will provide a forum where the non-executive community can enhance its knowledge, understanding and experience of this complex and critical business challenge. Chapter Zero will do this by:

  • Running climate change briefings, round tables, workshops and conferences with our partners (the Autumn series is under development, members will receive details soon)
  • Making members aware of other relevant events they may wish to attend: for example on risk assessment, reporting, scenario planning, opportunity assessment, decision analysis
  • Bringing together investors, regulators, company directors, plus key experts to learn from and influence each others’ perspectives
  • Making available briefing materials, toolkits, films, and online courses to enable directors to develop their knowledge
  • Developing a catalogue of where to go for help as an engaged board
  • Giving access to the World Economic Forum online materials
  • Providing a forum where directors can share experience and debate issues

Further details of Chapter Zero’s goals and forthcoming activities, as well as enrolment information for membership, can be found on
Chapter Zero Limited, registered as a company limited by guarantee (12062028) in England and Wales.