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Sep 05, 2022

FTSE 100 firms without ESG board committees a ‘shrinking minority,’ notes study

Oil & gas and mining lead the way in setting up sustainability-focused committees

The majority of FTSE 100 companies now have an ESG board committee in place as the UK’s blue chips boost their governance oversight of environmental and social issues, according to new research.

The study, by Mattison Public Relations, finds that 54 percent of companies in the index have a board committee focused on sustainability issues, while those without are labeled ‘a shrinking minority’.

Looking at different sectors, 100 percent of oil & gas and mining companies have set up a board-level ESG committee, says Mattison. Non-bank financial services, such as insurers and asset managers, are the laggards, with just 13 percent having taken this step.

‘FTSE 100 companies are taking big steps toward addressing their responsibilities on ESG,’ says Maria Hughes, director at Mattison, in a statement. ‘UK plc is showing its commitment to tackling climate change and reducing its impact on the broader environment.

‘Sectors with low environmental impacts and no ESG committee are missing an easy opportunity to improve their ESG credentials.’

Committee forms

The research includes various committee names under its ‘ESG’ label, such as corporate responsibility committee, responsible business committee and environments & communities committee.

Mattison notes that, of the 54 companies with an ESG committee in the FTSE 100, 56 percent include only non-executive directors.

‘[Where] companies have ESG committees made up entirely of independent non-executive directors, [it] allows the committee to provide constructive feedback and scrutinize the ESG program of the firm it works for,’ says Hughes.

One reason to set up an ESG-focused committee is to oversee net-zero emissions goals.

More than eight in 10 FTSE 100 companies have now committed to a net-zero target by 2050, according to research published last month by law firm Boodle Hatfield. That’s a rise from 60 percent last November when the UK hosted the COP 26 conference in Glasgow.