MAKING THE PITCH: SELLING SUSTAINABILITY FROM INSIDE CORPORATE AMERICA

25 Jul

{New report on Sustainability from VOX Global is worth a look} Link to Full Report

2012 REPORT OF SUSTAINABILITY LEADERS

What Makes a Sustainability Leader Successful?

“Sustainability,” little more than a buzzword in the corridors of corporate America a decade ago, is today a business concept that has been embraced by many companies in principle and, increasingly, in practice. Yet, while more and more companies are integrating corporate sustainability strategies and programs into their daily business operations, “sustainability,” is prone to multiple interpretations.

For this reason, and in an effort to understand the skills, drivers and collaboration strategies necessary for executive success, VOX Global, Weinreb Group Sustainability Recruiting and Net Impact, Berkeley conducted a national survey of sustainability leaders.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Interpersonal skill — rather than subject matter expertise — is the most important attribute a sustainability leader must have to be successful.
  • Influence comes only to those who collaborate.
  • Successful corporate sustainability leaders recognize that traditional business pressure — from customers and competitors — is the key driver of adoption inside companies.

Conclusions

Sustainability means different things to different people and different companies.  And, because there is no universally accepted definition, it makes it more challenging to embed social and environmental issues into a company’s business strategies.

To be successful, sustainability leaders must provide context for their work in the same terms as other business units and define their impact in the “lingua franca” of the business. Rather than using sustainability jargon, they must use words and phrases that are consistent with a company’s culture and business strategy.  Only after trust is earned and collaboration is underway can they expect to be successful implementing programs that will deliver a return on investment — both reputational and financial — to their companies.

Link to Full Report (.pdf)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: