Leadership Actions for a More Sustainable Future


The objective: Embed sustainability into the core of business strategy and operations


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Lay the Foundations     Set the Plan     Enable the Change


To achieve change at the scale and pace needed, it is important that leaders make sustainability a central strand of business strategy, motivating the transformation of operations and business models, and ensuring all opportunities are evaluated through a sustainability lens.

We set out the key areas of action that will help leaders accelerate their sustainability journey.

01. Lay the Foundations: Embed sustainability into leadership capability and culture

Making progress on sustainability is in large part a matter of leadership capability and culture. To drive sustained action, organizations may want to consider building a robust talent-management framework that embeds sustainability into how leadership talent and reward decisions are made as well as how the leadership team operates.

Selection and succession



Invest in talent

Team Effectiveness

Ensure boards and CEOs apply sustainable leadership potential and track records as key criteria when selecting leaders.

Integrate sustainability into the objectives, incentives, and remuneration of CEOs and other executives.

Make sustainable mindset and leadership attributes a core focus of leadership development and crucible experiences.

Make long-term disruptive investments in talent and leadership. This may require creating new positions or investing in new tools. 

Invest in understanding the expectations, priorities and personalities of your leadership team to harness their collective capabilities in service of sustainability.


02. Set the Plan: Connect sustainability priorities to the core

Who is on your board matters. Having board members with experience of driving sustainability-related transformations is hugely valuable. Not all board members need to be experts in the space, but a diversity of perspectives across the group that is relevant to the sustainability issues at hand is a must.


Connect to the core

Drive for value creation

Engage the board

Get specific

Orient your sustainability strategy around your company’s core business and areas of current or future competitive advantage.

Begin with impact reduction but strive for goals that create added value both commercially and environmentally or socially by offering new solutions for entrenched problems.

Ensure the board has an active stake in setting priorities and a clear role in achieving them.

Translate enterprise-wide sustainability goals into concrete actions and measurable objectives that leaders and employees alike can feel in their day-to-day work.


03. Enable the Change: Communicate and build employee engagement

It is important for leaders to make employees, and the communities in which they operate, central to how they build and communicate their sustainability strategies.

Measure culture and engagement

Center on your people

Tap into employees to drive innovation

Treat employee engagement as a strategic imperative

Go beyond typical engagement surveys and use advanced culture analytics tools to get a deep scan of how connected the employees really are to the organization’s purpose and whether the right behaviors and values are manifesting.

Make “people” central to communications and engagement strategies; consider bottom-up, not top-down, approaches to mobilizing employees. 

Ensure you are leveraging the diversity of perspectives and solutions that employees of all backgrounds, and across the networks, can provide.

Strategic goals (sustainable or otherwise) are harder to achieve when workforces are not engaged. Pay attention to issues of diversity, equity and fairness—and don’t fall into the trap of managing perception. Instead, identify and tackle the root causes. 



Ready to get Started?

We look forward to connecting with you on sustainable leadership.