Season 3 - Ep. 14 | Daring to Build a More Sustainable World with Kate Brandt and Sophia Mendelsohn (Re-release)

Redefiners Podcast
Hosted By:
September 20, 2023 | 41 min
Our guests
Kate Brandt, Chief Sustainability Officer, Google
Sophia Mendelsohn, Chief Sustainability and Commercial Officer and Co-GM of SAP

Season 3 - Ep. 14 | Daring to Build a More Sustainable World with Kate Brandt and Sophia Mendelsohn (Re-release)

Sustainability has quickly risen to the top of corporate agendas, as shareholders, investors, employees, policy makers, and other stakeholders demand action. We talk with two passionate leaders – Kate Brandt, Chief Sustainability Officer at Google and Sophia Mendelsohn, former Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of ESG at Cognizant – about how they embed sustainability into their organizations’ core business strategy. They’ll share how they’ve mastered the role of “CEO whisperer” to drive top-down change and connect sustainability initiatives to their company’s business, products and supply chain. We’ll talk about why it’s critical to shift our thinking from how to reduce our business impact on climate change to how to reduce climate change's impact on our business. And for those interested in becoming a CSO, Kate and Sophia share their career advice on how to navigate the often-undefined path to the role.

If you’d like to learn more about Sustainable Leadership, check out Redefiners host Clarke Murphy’s new book, Sustainable Leadership: Lessons of Vision, Courage, and Grit from the CEOs Who Dared to Build a Better World. The book is a complete blueprint for infusing sustainability across business strategy, all while growing your bottom line. Drawing on the stories of 35+ CEOs at world-leading companies, including Adidas, Heineken, Duke Energy, Natura &Co, Maersk, Mahindra Steel, and Salesforce, veteran leadership expert Clarke shows how sustainability action is within reach of every business executive. Perfect for CEOs and boards across industries, Sustainable Leadership is also a can’t miss book for sustainability experts, entrepreneurs, and next-generation leaders looking to make sense of the latest—and most profitable—sustainability strategies. Order your copy here.

To hear more from other global leaders on sustainability, you might also enjoy these Redefiners episodes:



Kate Brandt
Chief Sustainability Officer, Google

Kate Brandt serves as Google’s Chief Sustainability Officer and leads sustainability across Google’s worldwide operations, products and supply chains. In this role, Kate partners with Google’s data centers, real estate, supply chain, and product teams to ensure the company is capitalizing on opportunities to strategically advance sustainability.

Previously Kate served as the Nation's first Federal Chief Sustainability Officer. In this capacity, she was responsible for promoting sustainability across Federal Government operations including 360,000 buildings, 650,000 vehicles, and $445 billion annually in purchased goods and services.

Prior to the White House, Kate held several senior roles in the U.S. Federal Government including Senior Advisor at the Department of Energy, Director for Energy and Environment in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, and Energy Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy.

Kate is the recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest award the U.S. Navy can give to a civilian, for her work helping the Navy go green. Fortune Magazine named Kate to their 40 Under 40 list in 2021 and Outside Magazine also named her, in honor of the magazine’s 40-year anniversary, as one of 40 women who has made the biggest impact on our world.

Kate serves on the boards of EVgo, BSR, Restor, and the Corporate Eco Forum.

Kate received a Masters degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar. She graduated with honors from Brown University.

Sophia Mendelsohn
Chief Sustainability and Commercial Officer and Co-GM of SAP

Sophia Mendelsohn is the Chief Sustainability and Commercial Officer and Co-GM of SAP Sustainability. She was formerly the Chief Sustainability Officer and Global Head of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) for Cognizant.

Prior to joining Cognizant in 2020, Sophia was the first Chief Sustainability Officer at JetBlue Airways, Head of Sustainability at Haworth and held an ESG role at the Jane Goodall Institute in Shanghai, China.

Sophia has been recognized for her leadership and commitment to corporate citizenship, receiving the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leadership Award in 2016, and the Climate Leader of the Year award by Ethical Corp. In 2020, she was named one of the top 30 people leading the climate charge by Bloomberg.

Sophia speaks Mandarin Chinese, serves on boards and advisory councils and holds a Master of Science in Sustainable Management from Columbia University.

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