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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

Exxon is feeling the heat on climate change action

Expand chart
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

ExxonMobil, under pressure to boost financial performance and do more on climate change, says it's on the cusp of changes.

Driving the news: The oil giant said Wednesday it would soon update shareholders on plans to "build long-term, sustainable value," and new steps to commercialize tech that's "key to reducing emissions."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.