Who are your top “sustainable” business leaders?

Triple Pundit is calling for ideas on this topic. The idea is based on the recent Harvard list of top performing CEOs on a financial basis.

Much as I don’t like pat comparisons of companies on complex CR issus (The greenest/most ethical/most nice company lists that have more methodological holes than a Swiss cheese peppered with a machine gun), when it comes to our subjective views of individuals and leadership, without the pretend ‘science’, then it’s really interesting.

I’ve been wondering who I would put on my list of top business leaders.

Here’s some ideas, not in any particular order.

To keep it relevant, all of my non-CEOs were bosses of their firms until fairly recently or are still hugely influential:

Jeff Swartz, Timberland
Paul Polman, Unilever
Todd Stitzer, Cadbury
Jeffrey Hollender, Seventh Generation
Lars Rebien Sørensen, Novo Nordisk
Ray Anderson, Interface (Chairman)
Lee Scott, Wal-Mart (former CEO)
Richard Reed (co-CEO), Innocent
Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft
Anne Mulcahy, Xerox (former CEO)
Craig Sams, Green & Blacks (founder)
AG Lafley, Procter and Gamble (former CEO)
John Mackey, Whole Foods Market
Stephen Green, HSBC (Chairman)
Mark Parker, Nike
Mark Hurd, HP
Stewart Rose, Marks and Spencer
Ratan Tata, Tata Group
Akio Toyoda, Toyota
Juliet Davenport, Good Energy

I’ll stop there, for now. I know this list is very Anglo-Saxon heavy and almost totally male-dominated.

Now it’s your turn readers. Who did I miss? Who would you nominate?

We may turn this debate into something for our print/online magazine in future so we can go into a little more depth as to why these, and others, deserve our respect and support.


  1. Flattered as I am to be included in such illustrious company, I should mention that my co-founder of Green & Blacks is Josephine Fairley, who is also the author of The Green Beauty Bible and was for 8 years Chair of the Soil Association's Beauty Products Standards Committee.

    Craig Sams

  2. Thanks Craig, good point. And best of luck with your biochar venture, it sounds like a great idea.


  3. Anonymous

    Mark Hurd a sustainable business leader ? Surely you jest !?

    Have a look here at what his employees think of him:

    Marks whole business model is buy a company then screw it to death and then repeat this process.
    How is that sustainable ?

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