The eleven most difficult (management) questions facing corporate sustainability executives
I’m not a corporate sustainability director, or any kind of corporate executive. But I know quite a few people who are. So I was thinking recently about re-framing what we do at Innovation Forum around the most difficult questions those hard-pressed and under-paid executives who are our customers face every day.
Whilst I’m not sure we’re ready to go that broad in our product offerings, I wrote down what I thought might be those questions, and I’m curious as to what I’ve missed.
So here they are, however ingloriously, and I look forward to corrections, amplifications and comments:
I came up with eleven, but I suspect there are others: (and some are inter-linked I do realise that)
- How do I pitch the 2018 business case to my board?
- What does real strategy look like in 2018, considering the SDGs, circular economy pressures, investor letters, and science based targets?
- What should my company tell investors about performance, beyond reporting, to get them engaged?
- How do we know when other departments are truly on board with sustainability?
- How can procurement and sustainability function together to add value that’s measurable?
- We know consumers don’t want to drown in detail, so how do we talk to them about such complex issues?
- How do we measure social: From Licence to Operate to working conditions in the supply chain
- Measuring environmental: From evolving waste, CO2 and water performance to chemicals, and more complex metrics
- How do we balance the need for improved supplier performance with limited resources?
- How do we talk about targets we know we will miss, or do miss?
- How do we tell stakeholders (particularly NGOs) about successes, without sounding self-serving or just PR focused?
So, what’s missing?
Update: 06/02/18: Thanks to Alex Nichols for suggesting this:
““How do I get our B2B corporate customers to put some skin in the game?” / The flipside of which is “How do we share the burden of our suppliers’ sustainability efforts?” [bit like the procurement one)”
Our forthcoming events
- How business can tackle modern slavery and forced labour – 7-8 March 2018 – London
- How business can make smallholder supply chains resilient – 13-14 March 2018 – London
- Can innovation and technology make agriculture sustainable? – 5-6 April 2018 – Washington DC
- How business can tackle deforestation – 18-19 April 2018 – Washington DC
- Sustainable apparel: How brands can transform supply chains – 24-25 April 2018 – Amsterdam