The case for The Social Board (and how to build one)

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An ‘ideas menu’ for connecting the board of directors with society


of companies with robust sustainability practices demonstrate better operational performance.

As the relationship between technology and society becomes more complex, technology companies are turning to SAPs as a way of developing technology responsibly.


IKEA invested €3b in renewable
energy in the last 3 years.

  • "...If government, business and communities work together we are much more likely to create a vibrant economy where all can thrive and no one is left behind."

    Sacha Romanovitch CEO of Grant Thornton UK

Short v’s long term

In 2012, Unilever halted its quarterly earnings guidance to the stock market, signalling its focus on long-term decision-making. Many societal decisions are long term in nature, and the few boards that consistently run their business on a short-term basis will likely see little need for a Social Board. For boards with long-term outlook, the case appears to be robust.

Evidence of diversity benefits

McKinsey has identified a relationship between a more diverse leadership team and better financial performance. Based on 2010-2013 data, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median.

The link with society

We are not aware of any studies of the link between board diversity and how a company responds to the needs of society. It makes intuitive sense, however, that a greater range of gender, race, skills, thought, experience and background is likely to bring greater societal awareness into board conversation.

Official Data Partner

Datamaran has provided contextual data on the rate of uptake of the actions considered in this report. This data is drawn from its proprietary, AI-powered platform, which contains corporate reports from the largest 300 listed companies in the UK, and the largest 7,000 listed companies globally.

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