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Chair of the Future 2.0

The role of Chairs as purpose-driven leaders in the climate change conversation

Welcome to the second edition of the Chair of the Future for Africa. This report forms part of an international report series, unpacking the role of Chairs in a global era where the world is facing climate change, socio-economic uncertainty, geopolitical turbulence, and technological advancements, such as generative artificial intelligence (AI).

The effects of extreme weather events across the globe and the devastating damage caused by climate change are increasingly visible, be it record-level droughts, widespread flooding, or devastating storms. Evidently, Africa has not been spared these extreme weather events, with floods and droughts destroying many livelihoods. The continent is likely to continue experiencing some of the worst effects of climate change.

Against this backdrop, we engaged with Chairs, non-executive directors (NEDs), and executives of leading companies operating in South Africa, East Africa, and West Africa to get their views on this pressing issue and to find out what climate action they have taken and are planning to take in the future.

These are the highlights of our conversations:

  • Climate change is intrinsically linked to socio-economic challenges in Africa
  • Africa will follow its own pathway and pace for just transition
  • There is ongoing pressure from stakeholders to take climate change seriously
  • Climate action has evolved from being a tick-box exercise to being a strategic differentiator and business imperative
  • Climate change-related responsibilities are often assigned to existing board structures
  • There is an urgent need to enhance climate competence among boards and executive teams

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