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Minters partner to chair WEF climate governance body

The head of climate change and sustainability at BigLaw firm MinterEllison is set to be the joint chair of a World Economic Forum key climate governance body, the Climate Governance Community of Experts.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 07 July 2023 Big Law
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Sarah Barker has been appointed joint chair of a World Economic Forum key climate governance body, the Climate Governance Community of Experts (CGCoE), an appointment, which, MinterEllison said in a statement, “reflects the global pre-eminence of her expertise in climate change governance and liability risk”.

“Her longstanding focus on the role of board directors in ensuring that organisations are managing climate risk, aligns with the goals of CGCoE,” the firm proclaimed.

Ms Barker leads Minters’ international climate change and sustainability practice and has expertise in climate-change-related exposures under corporate and securities (rather than “environmental”) laws, including directors’ fiduciary duties and financial reporting/disclosure obligations.


She is also a founding member of the steering committee of the Australian chapter of the World Economic Forum’s Climate Governance Initiative.

Ms Barker said: “The work of the CGCoE involves understanding what is required to empower and support directors with forward-looking insights into the most impactful governance frameworks, enabling them to proactively accelerate climate action.”

“We strive to guide boards to a new level of comprehension regarding the far-reaching implications of climate change and equip them with the necessary knowledge and strategies to navigate the future with confidence and readiness.”

Boards need further support, Ms Barker went on, to integrate climate and sustainability risks into corporate strategy, risk oversight and financial disclosures in line with stakeholder expectations.

“We have squarely moved from the ‘what?’ and ‘why?’ to the ‘so what?’ and ‘how?’ on climate change and sustainability. ‘Net zero’ emissions reduction targets have swiftly evolved from a ‘nice to have’ to ‘ticket to play’. Boards are grappling with how to govern for an issue that is radically uncertain and highly dynamic — and for which historical experience provides little insight,” she outlined.

“Boards are crying out for practical support to help navigate the escalating pressures from regulators, investors and stakeholders.”

Ms Barker’s co-chair on the body will be Associate Professor Dr Simon Learmount from the University of Cambridge Judge Business School.

The CGCoE was formally launched by the World Economic Forum at London Climate Action Week on 3 July.