How can company boards lead the sustainability transition?


How can company boards lead the sustainability transition?

Event recap

How are companies getting ready to deliver on sustainability reporting and assurance? What is the boards’ role in leading the sustainability transition? Accountancy Europe, the European Confederation of Directors’ Associations (ecoDa), the European Confederation of Institutes of Internal Auditing (ECIIA) and Chapter Zero Brussels held this webinar to discuss these and other questions.

All panellists focused on whether boards are currently equipped with the right skillset and competencies needed to approve the sustainability reports and, more broadly, understand the sustainability challenges. What is necessary for boards to advance their companies’ transition?

  • increasing board awareness, which is already growing due to legislation and climate litigation
  • having more expertise. According to a Chapter Zero Brussels report, there is a lack of understanding in the board on how climate change affects their company and its strategy
  • having courage. This means challenging management and questioning whether the current business model is still viable considering all the environmental crises we face

The discussion included several practical recommendations for companies and boards, such as

  • putting forward targets with a clear understanding of what they mean and will require from the business
  • allocating resources and making them part of investment plans. This will help raise awareness about the company’s direction at the board level, in the research and development department, and across business / operational managers
  • being transparent about your progress – or lack of it – when reporting externally, avoiding greenwashing

Internal auditors can be valuable partners of boards in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) journey. They can ensure that strategic intents are clearly translated into goals, roadmaps, and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Saving the planet means saving the business – because without natural resources there will be no business.

Olivier Boutellis-Taft, CEO, Accountancy Europe

The panellists also talked about how double materiality assessment can help companies identify risks and drive the business forward. Far from being only a matter for reporting, double materiality assessment serves the board with insights on where risks and opportunities lie and where the company can make the most impact.

Check the full discussion on the event recording:

About the event

What does sustainability transition mean for your company? What keeps you awake at night?

Policymakers and regulators are introducing new legislation on companies’ sustainability obligations that will profoundly impact businesses. Accountancy Europe, ecoDa, ECIIA and Chapter Zero Brussels jointly invite you – board or audit committee member, CEO, CFO, internal or external auditor etc. – to discuss how companies are

  • preparing for the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), as a result of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), and the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CS3D)
  • identifying key Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) objectives
  • dealing with the challenges that come with implementing those objectives in day-to-day activities

The event will also draw on the recent Accountancy Europe, ecoDa and ECIIA publication ESG Governance: questions boards should ask to lead the sustainability transition. It sets out practical questions that boards should consider in their efforts on ESG, sustainability transition planning, delivery on sustainability objectives and limiting greenwashing risks.


  • Moderator: Olivier Boutellis-Taft, CEO, Accountancy Europe
  • Sandra Gobert, Board Member, ecoDa | CEO, Guberna
  • John Bendermacher, President, ECIIA
  • Wim Bartels, Chair, Sustainability Policy Group, Accountancy Europe
  • Gilda Neiman, Director, Board of Directors and Steering Committee, Chapter Zero Brussels


  • 10:30 - 10:35


    Olivier Boutellis-Taft, Accountancy Europe

  • 10:35 - 11:25

    Panel discussion

    Moderator: Olivier Boutellis-Taft, Accountancy Europe
    Sandra Gobert, ecoDa & Guberna
    John Bendermacher, ECIIA
    Wim Bartels, Accountancy Europe
    Gilda Neiman, Chapter Zero Brussels

  • 11:25 - 11:40


  • 11:40 - 11:55

    Speakers' wrap up

  • 11:55 - 12:00

    Closing remarks

    Olivier Boutellis-Taft, Accountancy Europe