CEOs ‘fired up’ by sustainability primed to be fast-track enablers

Transforming board level buy-in into ground-level action is crucial for businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve in corporate sustainability, a leading CSR commentator has advised.

According to Zeljka Davis, partner at EMG CSR Consultancy, having an enthusiastic CEO can fast-track strategic delivery and staff engagement on such issues.

“Companies that excel the strongest in sustainability have a CEO who is genuinely inspired by the benefits of sustainability and drives the new agenda with a sense of urgency,” she said.

Davis maintained that so-called “sustainability champions” have successfully built on their strengths from within by developing a strategy that works seamlessly with their business and key stakeholders.

She said that CEOs not only need to recognise the importance of embedding sustainability into every element of the company’s day-to-day operations, but understand the driving factors behind employee behaviour.

“Without the endorsement and dedication from the people inside the organisation, leading effective change will be practically impossible, or in the case of sustainability, condemned to a future of lip service and green washing.

“When your values and culture are properly understood, further steps of modification and development can then be initiated,” she said.

Davis has led change in various organisations including Desso, the Dutch carpet manufacturer, which has re-engineered itself around cradle-to-cradle philosophies and the circular economy model.

Read Zeljka Davis’ article on ‘Sustainability: a guide to substance over style’

Maxine Perella

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