Leading The Way, The CEO'S Role in helping to create a sustainable future
According to a recent PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) publication, Moving Green (published in 2009), sustainability and climate change have been promoted in the hierarchy of corporate priorities from being an afterthought to occupying the top position on many boardrooms' agendas. Many companies have woken up and recognised the potential growth opportunities that may be realised by taking responsible action.
This being the case, sustainability and climate change have undeniably become an important part of the current re-gauging of businesses' top priorities and key issues.
By thoughtfully managing the organisation's transition to become a low-carbon and energy-efficient entity, embracing new "green" technologies and behaviours, and integrating co-operation into supply chains and distribution channels, companies can minimise their environmental impact while simultaneously enhancing shareholder value and maximising their competitiveness.
The CEO's vision and leadership are vital elements in the acceleration of the corporate response to climate change and sustainability in business.
PwC sees five ways in which corporate leaders can make a difference to their business _ and industry _ by creating a sustainable business.
In general, we envisage every CEO as having five key roles:
Seizing growth opportunities;
Preparing and protecting your business;
Setting an example;
Helping to define sustainability policies.
Some of these roles are crucial to survival; for example, Role 2 _ preparing and protecting your business. Others help to define success, not only in tackling sustainability, but also in gaining a strategic competitive advantage.
For each of the five key CEO roles, there follows a checklist of key questions. These questions are intended to serve as a barometer to determine the extent to which you are open to allowing sustainability to play a role in developing a new mindset for your business. Corporate leaders who are able to adapt and innovate will be the leaders of the next generation; those who take a back seat risk being left behind.
Here is a "Moving Green" Checklist:
Seizing growth opportunities:
Do you understand how sustainability and climate change affect your markets, regulations and technology?
Have you considered how sustainability/climate change might help you move into new markets or radically reshape existing markets?
Are you making a dedicated effort to turn energy saving and energy efficiency into a business advantage?
Are you looking into sustainability/climate change and envisioning growth opportunities through consumers' eyes?
Preparing and protecting your business:
Have you assessed your company's vulnerability to climate change?
Have you looked beyond asset vulnerability to potential disruption of your markets, your supply chain and your workforce?
Are you aware of how climate change (and regulatory intervention) might affect your investment planning and decisions?
How exposed are your company and markets to increased regulation climate change?
Have you considered scenario-planning to support capital allocation decisions?
Setting an example:
Do you have robust emission reduction strategies and reporting mechanisms in place within your company?
Do they form part of the mainstream governance of your company?
Are emission reductions and energy efficiency measures key performance indicators discussed at board meetings?
Does your company have a renewable energy strategy?
Are you working with your suppliers and clients on reducing emissions in your supply chain?
Are you actively exploring opportunities to lead or join sector-wide initiatives to champion climate change solutions and reduce emissions in your sector?
Are you communicating your initiatives and your successes to your stakeholders?
Are you empowering staff within your company to engage positively with the sustainability/climate change issue, both at work and at home?
Are there mechanisms in place so that staff can put forward or implement their own ideas to address sustainability/climate change? How are you measuring their impacts?
Can you use your action on sustainability and climate change to help recruit and retain the best people?
Are you looking at ways help your customers reduce their carbon footprint or contribute to climate change solutions?
Helping to define sustainability policies:
Are you making full use of your leverage in influencing policies on climate change?
Have you communicated your position on sustainability and climate change policies?
Are you reaching out to organisations/governments that can influence sustainability and climate policies?
Are you taking advantage of media interest in sustainability and climate change issues to help you get your message across?
The best form of leadership is by example. The CEO is in a unique position within the organisation to lead change from the top down. Likewise, an organisation that has successfully implemented the necessary changes to achieve sustainable profitability will exert a powerful influence on its peers throughout the industry.
Sourced : Bangkok Post