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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Having at least 30% women on corporate boards "makes a key difference to climate governance and innovation," per new analysis of thousands of companies from the research firm BloombergNEF.

Why it matters: Companies worldwide are coming under increased pressure to curb emissions, adopt cleaner tech and disclose emissions data.

The big picture: The analysis of nearly 12,000 companies shows the strongest correlation between gender diversity and governance, notably disclosures.

  • There's a "somewhat positive" link on performance, such as investments in renewable power and efficiency.
  • However, "higher emitting sectors such as oil and gas companies, show limited correlation between emission reduction and board diversity."
  • On the innovation front, firms with gender-diverse boards produce more and better patents.

By the numbers: A snapshot of 2,800 companies' emissions growth between 2016–2018 shows that companies with over 30% female boards averaged 0.6% emissions growth, compared to 3.5% for companies with no women in the boardroom.

How it works: Top-level findings on the oil sector in the broader report, which was conducted in collaboration with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, include...

  • "Leading integrated oil companies that have decarbonization strategies and are invested in digitalization activities also have higher female representation on the board."
  • "Gender diversity, however, does not directly contribute to lowering emissions and expanding digitalization."

Yes, but: The number of companies of all sorts worldwide that have gender-diverse boards is growing, although women are still very underrepresented.

  • "The number of companies with more than 30% women on the board of directors has increased eightfold in just over a decade, from 2% in 2009 to 16% today," the report finds.

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Jan 21, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Big business backs key climate change regulations

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Two of Washington’s biggest lobbying groups say they support the Biden administration’s plan to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas wells.

Why it matters: The shift, instigated by the Chamber of Commerce and American Petroleum Institute, is one of the most concrete signs of how corporations are beginning to support action on climate change in the face of pressure from investors, politicians and the public.

25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.