Sustainability Champion: Common Ground on the C-Level

As a sustainability champion, one of the very first challenges you will face in making sustainability central to your business is: “how should my organization think of sustainability?”

For a field that has been around for about a decade, it’s amazing how many different views there are on what it really means. Nearly every business function has its own perspective on it. One function thinks it’s all about carbon emissions and climate change. Another, that it’s all about energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The most challenging view is that, whatever sustainability is, we’re already doing it. This is something you will hear a lot – “we’ve always been sustainable; you’re just putting a new label around what we’re already doing.”

The very first step then is to get your business functions to be on the same page on sustainability. It’s not that you are getting them to abandon their view, but to broaden it.

Finding the right level of synthesis among different views is a real skill. If you do so and you get business leaders on the same page on what sustainability means to them, creating a business plan and prioritizing your actions becomes a lot easier.