Climate and people: putting passion into board practice


  • Robin Stalker, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Accounting for Sustainability
  • Michael Vassiliadis, Chairman, IGBCE – German Trade Union for Mining, Chemical and Energy Industry
  • Professor Dr.-Ing. Katja Windt, Member of the Managing Board, CDO, SMS group GmbH
  • Katharina von Frankenberg, CGI Germany, Board Academy e.V., Egon Zehnder

This session featured an interesting and inspiring exchange of ideas where climate governance was discussed from various perspectives: finance, technology and innovation, and with regards to how multiple roles and perspectives within a supervisory board could benefit climate protection and sustainability.

The panellists also shared their formative moment that triggered their personal and professional passion for sustainability, as well as giving views on how supervisory boards can influence and drive culture for the benefit of sustainability. The session was ended by opinions on how the supervisory board can lead and influence towards more sustainability business practices without direct leadership.

Key takeaways were:

  • Sustainability is core to business and strategy, and is a topic for which supervisory boards must also take responsibility.
  • We should not talk about “non-financials” but rather “pre-financials”. Sustainability ultimately always flows into the financials.
  • At every board meeting today there is a presentation on sustainability. But that alone is not enough to make a difference – it also takes passion and leadership.

Ambition to Action: Key actions for boards

Boards should ask their executive boards two simple questions:

  1. What do our customers want in terms of sustainability? and
  2. What is our sustainability footprint?

This session summary was provided by the hosts.