One of our Board’s key responsibilities is overseeing the company’s strategy. Our strategic plan firmly embeds sustainability at the heart of our competitive advantage and our unique business model. Our Board of Directors, primarily through its Nominating & Governance Committee, provides oversight of the company’s approach to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. In addition, the Leadership Development & Compensation Committee oversees the company's approach to continuously improving diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as talent development. Our Board and its committees regularly discuss with management our approach to sustainability, including risks and opportunities, and implications for the company’s strategy. Our Chief Executive Officer, Chief People and Sustainability Officer and members of the senior leadership team execute our sustainability strategy and drive progress towards our strategically aligned 2025 Sustainability Goals and other Sustainability commitments, as set forth in the chart at right:
Xylem Board of Directors
Strong governance starts with our highest governing body, the Xylem Board of Directors, which is led by our independent Board Chair. The Board believes that this leadership structure strengthens the Board’s role in risk oversight of the company. As of the end of 2021, our Board consisted of 10 members, all of whom were independent except for our Chief Executive Officer. Our Board is elected annually by our shareholders to oversee how Xylem’s employees and management conduct business under the direction of our CEO and to see that the interests of our shareholders in the long-term health, success and financial strength of Xylem are being served. The core responsibility of the Board is to exercise its business judgment to act in what the Board reasonably believes are the best interests of Xylem and its shareholders to build long-term sustainable value. In considering the best interests of Xylem and its shareholders, the Board may also consider the effects on our broader stakeholders, including our employees, suppliers, customers and the communities in which we operate. The Board recognizes that the long-term interests of shareholders are advanced by responsibly addressing the interests of these other stakeholders. The Board, together with the committees it has established to assist it in discharging its duties, is guided by our Articles of Incorporation, By-laws, Corporate Governance Principles, Committee Charters and Code of Conduct, which provide the framework of governance for the company. The Board discusses strategy throughout the year and conducts a deep strategic review at least annually, and regularly hears from customers, investors, financial advisors, relevant third-party advisors and external thought leaders in the water sector. In addition, Board members connect during the year with employees at various levels through facility visits, as well as engagement during Board meetings and other events.
In 2021, due to the ongoing pandemic and related safety concerns, our Board was unable to visit production or R&D facilities. However, our board visited the company’s Washington, D.C. office twice during the year. Our Board is committed to resuming visits as travel restrictions ease.