Last month, I was on a video conference from our Atlanta office with the Head of Sustainability of a major bank in Australia. They are doing some wonderful things with Sustainability and are clearly focused on their community, customers and diversity, with impressive Newsweek's Green Rankings.
We approached the meeting like a workshop; in fact the client had used our 'Sustainability Maturity Assessment Model' to assess themselves before the meeting. Interestingly, the assessment showed that while they were doing well on energy efficiency, carbon trading and offsets, there were significant gaps in waste and water. There were also opportunities in what we call Green Innovation - Sustainability products and services for their customers. We agreed that CEOs often talk about the importance of Sustainability, but when it comes to demonstrating commitment by dedicating money, people, governance structures, training and managing change, engaging employees and stakeholders, they do not always go the extra mile.
Personally, I think we will see a shift in the next 3 to 5 years, where more CEOs and Boards of the largest companies in the world will stop talking and start doing. And when they start getting a handle on what they need to do, they will realize that Sustainability is not only a profitable source of innovation but that some of the best companies in the world, including their biggest competitors, are ahead of the curve.
I enjoy having 'Sustainability Transformation' conversations with clients who recognize the need to align Sustainability to strategy and core values and then drive execution in a focused, goal oriented approach. My advice to clients is to first benchmark themselves on our Sustainability Maturity Assessment Model and when they realize where they are and where they want to be, then the conversation starts moving to action. What do you think is the tipping point for CEOs from talk to action?