Be A Sustainable Leader

Discover what it means to be a sustainable leader—and how to become one.


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The value of sustainable leadership has never been clearer. By delivering long-term benefits for investors, employees, customers, and the wider community, sustainable leaders can outperform the competition while creating financial value. Investors provide access to more favorable financing. Top talent wants to work for them. More customers trust them. And they unlock new market opportunities.


The question is, how can CEOs, boards, and other executives offer the sustainable leadership that will drive visible progress on the sustainability metrics that matter?


Sustainable Leader
All leaders can learn how to create value sustainably
Our study of pioneering executives, carried out with the United Nations Global Compact, shows sustainable leaders aren’t just born—they’re also made.
The skills leaders need to deliver sustainability action
What does it take to hit your goals around DE&I, the environment, employee wellbeing, and closing economic and social divides? Our research found five things sustainable leaders have in common.
The sustainable mindset is a purpose-driven belief that business is not a commercial activity divorced from the wider societal & environmental context in which it operates.
How much progress are leaders making on sustainability?
Sustainability is easy to talk about, but tough to deliver. Despite a host of promises around DE&I, employee well-being, and net zero, leaders around the world are struggling to deliver visible sustainability results.
say their organization has acted on a sustainability strategy
expect to make significant progress on sustainability in the next 5 years
think their CEO is personally committed to sustainability

Sustainable Leadership:

Lessons of Vision, Courage, and Grit from the CEOs Who Dared to Build a Better World

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How we support sustainable leadership


To future-proof your business, we work with you to recruit and develop leaders who understand why sustainability issues are vital to long-term success—and how to capture the opportunity.


Enhance your board’s sustainability credentials


Sustainable leadership starts at the very top. We find ways to strengthen ESG oversight by advising on how your board embeds a sustainability lens into its culture and structure, as well as directors’ sustainable leadership credentials.


Develop sustainable executives


Executive leadership teams need to work together towards your sustainability vision. So, we work with your top team to assess and develop executives’ sustainability capabilities.


Find leaders with a sustainable mindset


Our unique approach to assessment ensures we find CEOs, board members, and CxOs who have the mindset and skills to drive sustainability in your organization. In fact, 46% of the job specifications we create talk about sustainability.


Find world-class sustainability function leads


With access to an unrivaled pool of sustainability talent, we work with you to find best-in-class Chief Sustainability Officers, Heads of ESG, sustainable finance leaders, and leaders for sustainability business units.


Train sustainable leaders with MIT


We’ve partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management to create and run a sustainable leadership course exclusively for senior executives.


Talk to us about your sustainable leadership



What is sustainable leadership?
Sustainable leadership refers to CEOs, board leaders, and other executives who have the right mindset and capabilities to pivot their organizations toward a more sustainable future. These leaders are well-placed to capture the sustainability opportunity and deliver long-term benefits for investors, employees, customers, and the wider community.
Why is sustainable leadership important?
Sustainability has emerged as the defining issue of our time and the legacy of leaders depends on their willingness to take action. Sustainable leaders deliver business success while also meeting stakeholders’ increasing demands for organizations to have a positive long-term impact on the environment and communities.
What are the attributes of sustainable leaders?
Our research shows sustainable leaders believe there is an intrinsic link between business, society, and the environment—and that long-term business success relies on delivering across all three areas. These leaders are passionate about solving the world’s major social and environmental challenges for the greater good. Beyond this, they possess four key attributes:

Multi-level systems thinking: Sustainable leaders recognize their business is an interconnected ecosystem.

Stakeholder inclusion: Sustainable leaders consider a wide range of views and have high levels of empathy.

Disruptive innovation: Sustainable leaders challenge what’s gone before, using the best available science to deliver for people, planet and profit.

Long-term activation: Sustainable leaders set audacious goals and have the courage and resilience to stay on course in the face of internal resistance.
How do sustainable leaders contribute to business success and profitability?
Sustainable leaders deliver genuine long-term value for allstakeholders. Experience shows that leaders driving the sustainability agendain their business enjoy substantial benefits to their bottom line including:
  • Access to more favorable financing
  • Attracting top talent
  • Unlocking new market opportunities
  • Building trust with customer base
How much progress are leaders making on sustainability?
Our Divides and Dividends 2023 research reveals that only 43% of senior leaders saytheir organization has acted on a sustainability strategy and only 39% expectto make significant progress on sustainability in the next five years.
How are global CEOs approaching sustainability action?
Across the world, there are many examples of CEOs who are actively embracing sustainability and delivering on their sustainability goals. Our book, Sustainable Leadership: Lessons of Vision, Courage, and Grit from the CEOs Who Dared to Build a Better World, shares how 35+ CEOs at world-leading companies, including Heineken, Duke Energy, and Natura&Co, are approaching sustainability.

Ready to start your sustainability journey?