The Emergence of the Chief Sustainability Officer
Emma Gollub, Head of Communities at 2degrees, introduces a forthcoming webinar on a developing trend in business leadership in sustainability:
Webinar: The Emergence of the Chief Sustainability Officer – The next step in sustainability?
3:00 p.m. (BST) / 10:00 a.m. (EDT) 5th April 2011
A FTSE100 Chief Sustainability Officer talks to Jim Woods, Acre’s Non-Executive Director. Find out more and register…
Leading business towards a sustainable future
It seems business leadership in sustainability has reached a fork in the road.
On the same day the Sustainable Development Commission held its final event, the Big Sustainability Summit, at which Jonathon Porritt declared “sustainability is the only intellectually robust survival strategy for the human race”. If he is right – if increasing oil prices, population growth, food security, depletion of natural resources, economic crises and climate change risk are any cause for concern – who will spearhead the economic shift towards a more sustainable future?
Cue the rise of the Chief Sustainability Officer?
Is it possible that individuals, championing sustainability because they have identified it as a key competitive advantage for their corporations, can lead the charge? Acre Resources certainly believes so. In their new white paper, The Emergence of the Chief Sustainability Officer, Acre Resources have identified what it takes to be one of those individuals.
Described as an individual who can quickly gain respect and traction in the organisation, the CSO understands the company’s major operations and is comfortable with the Heads of Finance, Energy, Property, Logistics, and IT. The CSO has responsibility for product and supply chain development, savings and investments, employee and stakeholder engagement, and policy frameworks. These individuals are analytical and political, commercial and personable, and must be able to communicate.
Treading the narrow path that leads to the triple bottom line the CSO “usually reports directly to the CEO” and is tasked with integrating sustainability into the “core strategy and operations” of the organisation. Would the CEO of UK plc benefit from a Chief Sustainability Officer too?
On 5th April, Jim Woods, Non-Executive Director at Acre Resources and author of the white paper, will be interviewing a FTSE 100 Chief Sustainability Officer, and you are invited to join them. In this live 15-minute interview, Jim will explore the role of the CSO, the personal journey that has culminated in this position, and whether the potential for effecting change is greater in an organisation seen to be leading the way or in a company that’s rather more ‘sustainably challenged’.
Will a successful CSO put him/herself out of a job? If truly embedding sustainability is the aspiration, perhaps they should aim to. But there could be a silver-lining. Whereas in the past CEOs have been drawn from Sales/Marketing or Financial backgrounds with the rise of sustainability on the corporate agenda, CSO’s might well find themselves out of a job but into the role of CEO. You are also very welcome to put your own questions to Jim and the CSO in the hot seat.
To find out more and register please refer to 2degrees, the global community for sustainable business.
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