Climate change is shaping a new reality, creating risks and opportunities for business in a diverse number of ways. Investors, regulators and other stakeholders are now challenging companies to take responsibility by adopting an integrated, strategic approach to addressing the climate emergency.
Many, if not most, boardrooms are grappling with how to frame the risks and opportunities and embed a viable adaptation strategy into their business models. Boards of directors play a critical role as they have the important duty of ensuring the long-term stewardship of the organizations they oversee.
The World Economic Forum (the “Forum”) has developed a set of Climate Governance Principles (“CGI Principles”) for boards of directors, set out in its white paper, How to Set Up Effective Climate Governance on Corporate Boards: Guiding Principles and Questions. They aim to enable directors to gain climate awareness and skills, embed climate considerations into board decision-making, and understand and act upon the risks and opportunities that the climate emergency poses to the long-term resilience and business success of their organizations.
The CGI Community is composed of directors and subject matter experts, organized in a global network of 20+ national or regional chapters, whose purpose is to promote the adoption of the Forum’s CGI Principles by mobilizing, educating and equipping their director members with the skills and knowledge necessary to address climate change at the board level. The ICD is the host of the Canadian chapter of the CGI, “Chapter Zero Canada”.
Mission Statement of Chapter Zero Canada
Chapter Zero Canada aims to bring together the expertise of leaders in the climate governance space to meaningfully contribute to the discourse on climate change and competitiveness in Canada. Specifically, it aims to mobilize the corporate director community through education based on the CGI Principles as contextualized for Canada, on strategies for embedding climate considerations into Canadian boardrooms’ strategic decision making. It believes that as the long-term stewards of Canadian organizations, the corporate director community has an important role in ensuring the climate change journey in Canada is one that leads to a sustainable future and a robust, competitive Canadian economy.
Why the ICD
The ICD is a not-for-profit, member-based association whose purpose is to improve trust and confidence in Canadian organizations by developing and activating directors. With more than 15,000 members and a network of 11 regional Chapters across Canada, the ICD’s members span all sectors of the economy and oversee well in excess of $1 trillion in market capitalization and institutions that impact the lives of virtually every Canadian. No other organization in Canada is better positioned, both in mission and reach, to impact the discourse on climate change at the board level.
Chapter Zero Canada: Shaping a Sustainable, Competitive and Prosperous Future
Legal Primer on Climate Change: Directors’ Duties and Disclosure Obligations
The Climate Strategy Advisory Board
With COP26 front of mind and momentum building for potentially ambitious policy commitments, now is a critical time for boards to engage with the impacts of climate change.
- The ICD is proud to be part of a global network of directors’ forums, the Climate Governance Initiative (CGI)
- The CGI, of which the ICD is a contributor, is committed to promoting effective climate governance practices and behaviours on boards of directors, building on the World Economic Forum’s Principles for Effective Climate Governance.
- The CGI has provided a statement to coincide with COP26, in order to elevate awareness of the role boards have in fighting climate change. Read the statement here
The Climate Strategy Advisory Board Members
Kathy is Chair of the Sustainable Finance Action Council and a member of the Board of Trustees of the University Pension Plan. She is immediate past President of the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices having stepped down in June, 2021. Previously, her professional career spanned nearly four decades with The Co-operators Group Ltd., retiring from her role as President and Chief Executive Officer in December, 2016. During her tenure as CEO, she led The Co-operators sustainability journey, receiving various domestic and global recognitions for the insurance group’s efforts. Kathy holds a Bachelor of Science (Math) from the University of Manitoba and an MBA from McMaster University. She currently sits on the boards of Foresters Financial, Wawanesa, and RGA Canada. Kathy holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Guelph and an Honorary Chartered Insurance Professional from the Insurance Institute of Canada.
Chris Burley is a Corporate Director and the former Managing Director and Vice Chairman of Energy for Merrill Lynch Canada Inc., an investment banking firm. He serves as the Chairman of WestJet Airlines, an Onex Corporation portfolio company, and is on the board of directors of Nutrien Ltd. He is also a member of the Business Council of Alberta. Mr. Burley is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors’ Directors Education Program. He holds a Bachelor of Science with a Certificate of Honours Standing (Geophysics) and a Master of Business Administration from Western University.
Denise Carpenter, ICD.D
Denise Carpenter is an experienced c-suite executive, business strategist, board director and executive coach with broad experience in several business sectors. Denise is recognized as a collaborative, engaging leader and coach. She is respected as a strategic, politically savvy, and socially sensitive thought leader and is known for a calm, collaborative, measured approach to fact-based decision making while keeping a view on the future effects and growth of the business.
She has spent her career advocating for companies and governments on issues that matter most to Canadians and acting as a trusted confidant to senior executives and governments.
Denise is currently Chair of the Board EnerFORGE, Chair of the Board, Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation, Vice Chair and Chair of the Audit Committee of Synergy North and Board Director at Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto, Chair of the Board, Canada’s Great Kitchen Party, a social enterprise. In 2018, Denise was appointed to the Diversity 50 Cohort, recognizing Canada’s most diverse and eligible board candidates. She is an active and accredited member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, The International Coach Federation and the International Women’s Forum.
Andy is a member of the Board of Directors of Royal Bank of Canada. Prior to that he spent most of his career at Goldman Sachs & Co, at which he served in a variety of progressively more senior leadership roles within the organization. He acted as a member of the Federal government’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance and subsequently as a member of the Task Force for Resilient Recovery.
He sits on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Sustainable Finance at Queen’s University and the Centre for Building Sustainable Value at the Ivey Business School, is a Board Member of Evergreen, and sits on the Investment Committee of ArcTern Ventures, a cleantech Venture Capital firm.
He holds a B. Comm from Queens University (1981) and graduated with an MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University in 1985. He is Chair of the Ivey Business School Advisory Board. He lives in Toronto with his family.
Miranda Hubbs is currently an independent director of Nutrien, Imperial Oil and PSP Investments, and has previously served on the Board of Directors of Spectra Energy and Agrium. She serves on the Board of the Canadian Red Cross and is a founding member and national co-chair of the Canadian Red Cross Tiffany Circle – Women Leading Through Philanthropy, and is also a member of the advisory board of the Toronto Biennial of Art. Prior to her retirement in 2011, Ms. Hubbs was executive vice president and managing director of McLean Budden, one of Canada's largest institutional asset managers. Previous to McLean Budden, she was an energy research analyst and investment banker with Gordon Capital, a large Canadian brokerage firm.
Sarah Keyes, CPA, CA
With a decade of diverse experience as a thought leader, consultant and auditor, Sarah Keyes is a recognized voice on the financial impacts of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues for the Canadian business community.
She is a speaker, author and facilitator on the impacts of climate change risks and opportunities on governance, strategy, risk management and performance. Ms. Keyes is a Principal at ESG Global Advisors, a consulting firm created to help bridge the gap between companies and investors on ESG issues. Prior to this role, Ms. Keyes was a Principal at Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) where she produced research, thought leadership and practical guidance for companies to integrate climate change considerations into business strategy, risk management, governance and reporting.
Mark Podlasly (Cook’s Ferry Indian Band, Nlaka’pamux Nation) is at the intersection of Indigenous-corporate issues of governance and infrastructure issues, with extensive experience in the planning, permitting and construction of capital projects connected to energy, resource extraction and community infrastructure around the world.
He serves as the Director of Economic Policy and Initiatives to the First Nations Major Projects Coalition, a national 65+ Indigenous nation collective seeking ownership of major projects such as pipelines and electric infrastructure, and as the Director of Governance at the First Nations Financial Management Board leading the development of an Indigenous response to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Mark is also engaged as the Chair of the First Nations Limited Partnership (Pipelines), a 16-First Nations $1 billion commercial partnership with Chevron’s Kitimat LNG project.
Mark is a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School and a regular speaker at global business/governance events including the International Finance Corporation’s annual sustainability conference in Washington, DC.
Annette Verschuren, O.C.
Annette Verschuren, O.C., is Chair and CEO of NRStor Inc., and the former President of The Home Depot Canada. Ms. Verschuren is Chair of the MaRS Discovery District and the Chair of Sustainable Development Technology Canada. She is a Director of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group of Boston, Air Canada, Saputo and Canadian Natural Resources Limited.
Annette Verschuren serves as Chancellor of Cape Breton University and is a Board member of the CAMH Foundation. Ms. Verschuren is an Officer of the Order of Canada and is a Companion of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.