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Company secretaries: Help tackle climate change through virtual meetings

Climate change and environmental governance have become part and parcel of any company’s drive towards ensuring overall good governance. It has been reported that one of the main corporate governance trends set to take precedence in 2022 is the focus on ESG issues. Company secretaries play a vital role in ensuring that their boards are aware of governance trends that will have an impact on their manner of operation and overall long-term sustainability. Many companies and company secretaries alike have been debating how best they may play a positive role in the promotion and awareness of climate change, and the steps that they can take to address this important global issue. Many companies have faced tough questions from shareholders at their annual general meetings on this topic, proving that shareholders are becoming increasingly invested in seeking how companies are functioning as good corporate citizens.

The use of virtual meetings proves to be one of the ways in which company secretaries, as advisors to the board, can help tackle climate change. By advising the board of the reduced carbon footprint that would emanate from virtual meetings, company secretaries would be taking proactive steps in addressing environmental governance. It is important to note that virtual meetings do not eliminate the use of carbon entirely, but as Lumi previously reported, does significantly reduce this whilst also allowing stakeholders to take control of their carbon footprint. It is also important to note that climate change applies to companies of all sizes, and not just large entities.

Many company secretaries are involved in the preparation of the company’s integrated report, which serves as a communication channel with all stakeholders on various aspects covered during the year under review, including ways in which the company addressed climate change – and the use of virtual meetings could form part of this report on how companies took proactive steps in reducing their carbon footprint. Companies can no longer turn a blind eye to issues affecting climate change if they wish to remain viable in the long-term, and company secretaries need to ensure that this is placed at the top of the board agenda.

We encourage all company secretaries to promote the use of virtual meetings as a means of tackling climate change head on, and as a means of ensuring that companies add value and remain sustainable.