Climate governance initiative Australia

Helping boards come to grips with the global governance response to climate change risk.

On 26 August, the AICD launched the Australian Chapter of the Climate Governance Initiative (CGI), known as the Climate Governance Initiative Australia (CGIA), at a complimentary, member-only event. The CGIA will support members in navigating the challenges of governing climate change risk.

Now a standing item on many board agendas, climate change is a material risk to the organisations of over half of the respondents to the latest Director Sentiment Index conducted by the AICD. Hosting CGIA will allow AICD members to access a global network of experts in risk and resilience, and connect the members with non-executive directors who are leading their organisations’ governance response to climate change.

The CGI comprises a rapidly growing network of over 20 global bodies that promote the World Economic Forum, and it seeks to equip directors with the skills to address climate change at the board level. The CGIA event featured Australian and international directors discussing how boards are grappling with climate change governance.

AICD has released a practical governance guide on climate change for directors, written in conjunction with Sarah Barker — MinterEllison partner and head of climate risk governance — which focuses on how directors can start and continue on their climate governance journey.

Australia is one of just three countries in the world to have exceeded 30 per cent women on top listed company boards without mandated quotas. A report from the University of Queensland Business School, Towards Board Gender Parity: Lessons from the past, directions for the future, examined the key moments, bodies and individuals who were central to the 30% campaign and looks ahead to how Australia might achieve board parity in the future. The report was supported by the AICD and the Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC).

Australia increased the proportion of women on top listed boards from just 8.3 per cent in 2009 to 33.6 per cent as at 30 June 2021. While researchers identified a number of direct and indirect influencers, it highlighted two significant milestones from 2009 as critical in driving change over the decade that followed — the ASX Corporate Governance Council Recommendations in relation to reporting on diversity; and the implementation of the AICD Chair’s Mentoring Program.

The AICD program was the first of its kind globally and has been the catalyst for similar programs globally. Much of the early movement in the numbers of women on ASX 200 boards can be attributed to appointments made in ASX 50 boardrooms. Mentees from the AICD program accounted for nearly half of the 21 chair positions held by women in the ASX 200 in 2021.

33.6% - the proportion of women on top listed boards at 30 June 2021.

Source: Towards Board Gender Parity: Lessons from the past, directions for the future — Queensland Business School

Lifting our game

Australia lags behind most of the Western world on statistics surrounding workplace gender equality. Our ranking in the World Economic Forums’ annual Global Gender Gap Report has slipped from 15th in the world in 2006 to 50th in 2021. Our nearest neighbour, New Zealand, currently ranks fourth.

The report’s lead researcher, UQ Business School senior lecturer in leadership Dr Terrance Fitzsimmons, said the results are a step in the right direction for gender parity in corporate roles. “Our research reveals a truly encouraging result, that Australia is leading progress for women on boards at an international level despite the challenges women still face to achieve gender parity, especially in the corporate landscape.”

AGEC chair Coral Ross AM said the report provides valuable insights as we work towards gender parity at the board level and in other facets of Australian society. “It’s often said you have to know where you have been to know where you are going. By examining how we got to where we are, this report recommends a way forward to reach gender parity in the boardroom.”

Report recommendations

The focus is on continued momentum. Recommendations include the need for a national workplace gender equality strategy — adopting a 40:40:20 model (40 per cent men, 40 per cent women, 20 per cent any gender) — and a formal alliance of the bodies that helped drive the campaign over the past decade.

The report also identifies some of the potential risks to future progress on gender diversity including the shrinking pipeline of women into CEO and senior executive roles, which is generally where board members are drawn from, as well as childcare and the unequal burden of domestic responsibility. A further barrier is the current composition of the board skills matrix, which favours CEO or senior executive line role experience for most board role positions.

Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021

The AICD congratulates members recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours on 14 June 2021.


PSM Shane Carmody GAICD

AM Alan Clements AAICD

AM Harriet Elvin FAICD

PSM Rebecca Skinner GAICD

OAM Hannah Wandel AAICD


AM Dr Annette Carruthers FAICD

AM Dr Leon Clark FAICD

AM Robert Estcourt GAICD

AM Nancy Fox FAICD

OAM Lincoln Hart FAICD

OAM Frances Maguire GAICD

OAM Bruno Maurel GAICD

AM Helen Scott-Orr FAICD

AFSM Murray West MAICD

OAM Morri Young MAICD

AM Joseph Carrozzi MAICD

AM Kerry Chikarovski MAICD

OAM Professor Brin Grenyer MAICD

AO Cameron Kerr GAICD

OAM Susan Murray GAICD

OAM David Rickards MAICD

OAM Gino Vumbaca MAICD

PSM Leanne Barnes GAICD

AM Timothy Brown GAICD

AM Professor Toni Makkai GAICD

CSC Robert Watson GAICD

AM Dr Bronwyn Evans GAICD

OAM Leanne Heywood GAICD

OAM Alan Manly FAICD

CSC Benjamin Sleeman MAICD

AM Karim Sumar MAICD

OAM Belinda Tallis GAICD

OAM Dr Jan Dudley GAICD

PSM Joanne Edwards GAICD

ESM Peter Kaye FAICD

OAM Sandra Lambkin GAICD

OAM Peter Meurer FAICD

AM Andrew Papadopoulos MAICD

AO Douglas Snedden MAICD


OAM Tony Burns GAICD

AM Roland Chin MAICD

OAM Marie Louise Pearson GAICD


OAM Dr Amanda Dines MAICD

AM Professor Sabina Knight GAICD

OAM Gregory Russell MAICD

OAM Alison Sherry MAICD

AM Peter Turnbull FAICD

AM Professor Claire Jackson FAICD

OAM Dr Sarah Kelly MAICD

OAM Dr David Rowlands FAICD

AM Dr Charles Steadman FAICD

AO Gerard Bradley FAICD

AM Christine McLoughlin FAICD

PSM Annette Scott GAICD


AM John Crosby MAICD

OAM Sam Johnson MAICD

AM Lolita Mohyla FAICD



AM Howard Blake GAICD


AM Elizabeth Clarke MAICD

OAM Janet Jukes GAICD

AO Janine Kirk MAICD

AM Craig Phillips MAICD

AM Mark Birrell FAICD

AM Dr Heather Mack GAICD

AM Helen Maxwell Wright FAICD

AM Maree McCabe GAICD

OAM James Ostroburski MAICD

AM Coral Ross FAICD

OAM Liberty Sanger GAICD

AM Dr Gillian Sparkes FAICD

OAM Dr Rosemary Brooks FAICD

AM Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald FAICD

OAM Rosanne King GAICD

AM Julie Oberin MAICD

OAM Richard Owen GAICD

AM Elana Rubin FAICD

OAM Dr Teresa De Fazio MAICD

AM Angela Emslie MAICD

AM David Gibbs FAICD

OAM Owen Hegarty FAICD

OAM Jennifer Leaper MAICD

OAM Dr Richard Leaper FAICD

AM Graeme Sinclair FAICD

OAM Faye Spiteri MAICD


AM Julie Shuttleworth GAICD

PSM Kaylene Gulich GAICD

AO Dr Vanessa Guthrie MAICD

AO Warwick Hemsley FAICD

AM Dr Andrew Lu MAICD

AM Danny Murphy MAICD