Governance Playbook For Climate Standard-Setting

The Climate Group

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Report abstract

As of recent, the global effort to address climate change has intensified, leading to the emergence of small, private, not-for-profit climate groups as influential players in shaping corporate practices and the global economy. These organizations, particularly those establishing climate standards for companies and governments, are gaining prominence as their voluntary standards are increasingly adopted into legislation, regulations, and international agreements. However, with their growing influence comes greater scrutiny of their methods and operations. This report offers practical guidance for enhancing the governance of climate standard-setting organizations. Drawing on insights from discussions with key stakeholders such as activists, funders, investors, and board members, the report presents a playbook of best practices aimed at improving strategic clarity and procedural legitimacy in climate standard-setting.

About the report

Professor Karthik Ramanna developed this playbook as a public good for climate standard-setting organizations and their stakeholders, with the financial support of Google and Meta (via Stern Strategy). The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the financial sponsors.

Professor Ramanna is himself actively involved in improving climate standard-setting, through his scholarship on developing rigorous accounting principles for carbon emissions and removals. He has also previously studied the governance of financial accounting rulemaking and has published extensively on improving best practices in corporate accounting and auditing. The report is based on his own knowledge of climate standard-setting and of the governance of standard-setting bodies, together with information gleaned from over a dozen Chatham House-style conversations with key players in the area, including climate activists, funders, investors, board members, and managers. Of those contacted, over two-thirds agreed to speak, and the interviews were conducted in a semi-structured format that retained consistency across participants. The report was prepared with the expert assistance of Jasper Johnston, who also participated in these conversations. Professor Ramanna had full editorial control in writing this report.

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