While there is an increasing element of uniformity to sustainability, the topic remains broad and arches over all industries. This makes it an essential part of all roles in business – with CEOs at the helm of that change.
CEOs today are responsible for envisioning, nominating and enabling the company's vision and sustainability strategy.
We are always committed to recognising the leaders that drive the positive impacts of organisations through advocacy, philanthropy, and an overall focus on responsible business.
With that in mind, here’s our top 10 list of chief executives leading organisations that are facilitating an evolution towards a more sustainable society and economy.
Company: Ørsted A/S
The Danish businessman is the CEO of the renewable energy firm Ørsted A/S and also holds the Vice Chair position at FLSmidth. Having served at the company for three years, Nipper has supported a number of industries from a leadership perspective, including food, consumer goods, electronics, and water supply and transfer solutions.
Ørsted is a company at the forefront of the energy transition as it aims to build a green future through various clean energy installations.
Company: Dassault Systèmes
Charlès has not only seen the company through some 40 years of corporate development, but he is the driving force behind its transformation, and influence of partner organisations. Delivering 3D intelligent design and engineering solutions, Dassault Systèmes is reducing the friction for developing efficient infrastructure applications.
Shaping the company’s vision, Charlès leads the company’s expansion across automotive, aerospace, healthcare, and other industries, sharing digital solutions and priming businesses for a tech-driven future.
Company: Siemens Gamesa
Eickholt holds allegiance to the cause as a long-standing executive at Siemens. With more than 20 years at the company, he has held critical positions in procurement and supply chain management, rail automation, mobility and partnerships, and now focuses his attention on the energy side of the business.
Leading Siemens Gamesa gives Eickholt a foothold in the energy sector to establish innovation solutions for, and wider adoption of, renewable energy. His position also covers business transformation and turnaround strategy.
Company: Schneider Electric
It takes a strong leader to hold the mantle of the world’s most sustainable company, as per Sustainability Magazine’s 2023 Top 100 list – and a leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation.
Peter became CEO in 2023, returning to take the helm after serving as CEO of industrial software group AVEVA, where he remains as chairman.
Peter first joined Schneider Electric in 2016 when he was appointed to the Executive Committee to lead the Industrial Automation business, which he did for five years.
Xylem is one of the leading organisations for water solutions and is led by Decker who joined the company as CEO in 2014. 2023 marked further progress for the company with the acquisition of Evoqua Water Technologies—a company listed in the top 10 in Corporate Knights’ 2023 Global 100 ranking.
Decker shows great passion and appreciation for the work completed by Xylem, which is inherently a major stakeholder in planetary health as a means of supporting the wider community.
With a passion for design and its implications for society, Anagnost has held the position of President and CEO for more than six years. He is a veteran of the Autodesk team with more than 26 years of commitment to the business.
Anagnost leverages his computer science expertise and many experiences to programme a prosperous future for all, by delivering sustainable solutions to organisations building the world with technology at its core.
As head of the fast-growing renewable energy arm of Brookfield, Teskey is responsible for investment actions, operations and strategic expansion of the division.
For the last few years, Teskey has worked to build a new strategy for renewable investments, launching the first US$15 billion Global Transition Fund in 2021 and now leads a second, larger fund (US$20 billion).
Passionate about driving the climate transition, his approach is largely focused on meeting corporate demand for clean energy, and he was recently named Corporate Citizen of the Year.
As CEO of Brambles since 2018, Chipchase helms one of Sustainability Magazine’s top 10 most sustainable companies in 2023. Operating in over 60 countries, the Australia-based logistics company prides itself on its circular business model.
Under his leadership, Brambles has made significant strides towards its ambitious regenerative vision as it looks to build sustainable and resilient supply chains of the future.
This is Chipchase’s second gig as CEO, having previously run leading consumer packaging firm Rexam, where he reoriented the business strategy towards core business.
Company: Vestas Wind Systems
As CEO of the world’s number one developer of wind turbines, Andersen is leading the charge in sustainable energy, overseeing a workforce of more than 29,000 employees operating across 86 countries – and executing large-scale projects in more than 30 countries at any given time.
The work Andersen does is pivotal in the energy transition journey and puts Vestas at the forefront as highlighted by Corporate knights.
Andersen sat on Vestas’ board for six years before taking the helm as President and CEO. No stranger to C-level leadership, he previously served as Group CFO at ISS, then COO, and was also CEO at Hempel, a global supplier of coating solutions.
Company: Radius Recycling
Not only is Lundgren a senior-level leader in an organisation that builds on circularity, but she also acts as a symbol for female participation in the mining and metals industries. For nearly two decades, Lundgren has served as Chairman, President, and CEO of Radius Recycling (formerly Schnitzer Steel Industries), a company recognised by Corporate Knights as its top sustainable business in 2023.
The business is invested in more effective management of waste by nature, but the company earns its status by going above and beyond its day-to-day operations. In 2019, Radius set specific targets to track and monitor its progress across Scope 1 and 2 to reduce the impact of metal recycling, the final approach to developing the company for the future.
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