A survey of FTSE 350 companies out today finds that British boardsare optimistic about the economy and much more focussed on climate change than was previously the case. They are also aligned on the importance of employees and corporate culture, according to the report published by The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland in association with the Financial Times.
The key findings of the FTSE 350 Boardroom Bellwether survey, which canvassed the views of the FTSE 350 on the business environment, working environment and key corporate governance issues such as board diversity, regulation, risk and compliance, are as follows:
Although the survey was conducted before the Chancellor’s autumn budget announcement last week, companies were already optimistic about growth in both the global and UK economy.
- Global economy: 96% of respondents predict an improvement in global economic conditions; 2% predict a decline and 2% don’t know;
- UK economy: 79% expect an improvement, 12% predict no change and 4% expect a decline. In addition, 81% predict an improvement, 10% predict no change and 6% predict a slight decline in their specific industry’s economic conditions.
- 28% of companies considering that their overall risk is increasing chose climate change as the major risk factor, ahead of cyber risk (23%), risks linked to the pandemic (17%), global economic risks (14%), geo-political tension (11%), growing trade protectionism (3%) and AI (3%);
- 96% of companies have discussed climate change in the last year at least once, with the majority (39%) having discussed it two to three times. Just one FTSE 250 had not discussed the issue and one respondent did not know;
- At the time of the survey, 69% of respondents had published plans to tackle climate change (62% of which were FTSE 100 companies and 39% of which were FTSE 250 companies);
- 57% of companies had published an ambition to be net zero at the time they were surveyed.
“In the second week of COP26, with organisations increasingly committing to combatting climate change, there is no doubt the business sector has a critical role to play. It is encouraging to see the ambition to achieve net zero in our largest corporate boardrooms. If this is to be kept on track, however, it is essential that boards provide appropriate transparency. This is where good governance has an essential role to play in ensuring companies are delivering on theirambitions and can be held to account.”