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The Sustainability Board Report 2021

Committee Stat
ESG Director Stat
ESG Women Stat
ESG Men Stat

A new way of seeing ESG Preparedness of corporate Board of Directors

ESG Consciousness elucidates sustainability knowingness, attitudes and behaviour

ESG Competence

is the capacity to enable effective, embodied action

Discover never-before published data points on sustainable corporate governance

TSBR releases an annual report on ESG preparedness of corporate Board of Directors (BoD) of the world’s largest 100 publicly listed companies. Last year we found that only 17% of directors on relevant sustainability committees are ESG competent.


Feedback over the last year from many executive and non-executive board members and advisors has confirmed our findings. There is generally a very low level of hard ESG competence on BoD.

That said, BoD are increasingly conscious of ESG matters. This is attained primarily via engagement and dialogue with auditors, consultancies, law firms, board assessors, or short webinars and (virtual) roundtables provided by think tanks and other knowledge organisations. That has also resulted in the lines between consciousness (awareness and knowledge of issues) and competence (capacity to act on issues) becoming increasingly blurred.

TSBR Cover 2021

Our report has three main conclusions:

Women are driving the board-level conversation on sustainability


BoD without sustainability corporate governance (CG) policy are at risk of losing touch with ESG best practice


Overall sustainability preparedness and consciousness has increased materially in 2021, however, ESG CG policy too often remains vague and lacklustre


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