Five leadership attributes to drive sustainable strategies

Is your business embracing sustainability? Discover five attributes for CEOs to ensure success when investing in sustainability strategies & initiatives

Too often sustainability is considered a hindrance among organisations. But how can a business go from a hindrance to a driver of growth? Collaboration and strong strategies are vital but strong leadership is key. 

Despite sustainability being considered an important issue, approaches and commitment to sustainability varies greatly from all in to empty words. In order to better understand and drive sustainable practices, organisations need to adopt a top-down approach with CEOs adopting core leadership attributes.

1. Purpose 

With any strategy, it is important to have a clear understanding and definition of its purpose. When it comes to sustainability, CEOs must identify where the organisation stands, being both inspiring and authentic. 

2. A comprehensive plan

Once a purpose has been defined, CEOs need to develop a comprehensive plan of action covering all corners of the business value chain. Organisations such as Nestlé and Unilever are both strong examples of organisations with a comprehensive plan of action. 

3. Culture

While it is vital to have a clear goal and understanding as an individual, a comprehensive strategy can not be achieved alone. CEOs need buy-in from their workforce, therefore it is vital to embed a sustainable culture within the organisation through innovation, engagement, transparency and accountability. 

4. Collaboration

Not only is it important to embed a sustainable culture with internal collaboration, it is equally vital to lean on a range of external businesses to help drive a comprehensive sustainable strategy at scale.

5. Advocating

Finally, it is important to not only advocate for sustainable change, but to speak out and speak up for social justice and sustainable development. 

So what are the benefits?

By adopting these five core attributes, businesses can benefit from greater resilience to future disruptions, with a greater grasp on changing external environments. 

Other benefits include greater staff, partnership, supplier and investor retention, as well as greater capacity to shape the future with innovative mindsets. 

“Every global problem and social issue is a business opportunity in disguise. We see sustainability as the route to superior business performance and success. This means it has to become part of every business leader’s job description,” said Professor David Grayson, CBE.


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