Action on climate change is top of the list of matters company directors will need to grapple with in 2020.
The Institute of Directors' list of five priorities to be addressed this year also includes cyber attacks, reputation management and the need to pay attention to other issues such as innovation and compliance.
Institute chief executive Kirsten Patterson said boards will need to move beyond the planning stages to address the issues.
"Climate change has been on the list... maybe three of the last five years... we're now at a point where organisations and boards need to be taking a much more operational focus to what they can do."
Patterson said boards will need to invest more to tackle climate change and the other priority issues in order to create long-term value for their organisations and companies.
"If we don't invest in these areas, we're not going to have sustainable organisations or even sustainable communities."
She said reputation management was another important issue to address, with increasing consumer expectations about data and privacy.
"We're expecting that's going to be an area where boards are going to have to spend much more time."