While corporate sustainability planning has made great strides over the last decade, one ongoing challenge is the lack of buy-in and integration at the executive level.
Sure, at some point executives sat around a table listening to your presentation and asking an occasional question. At the end of the meeting, they signed off on a sustainability strategy or nodded in agreement. There were a few follow-up meetings, especially when it came time to submit data for the annual sustainability reporting process.
But has their approach to the job function actually changed? Does the CFO understand how to effectively integrate sustainability factors into budgeting and capital investment decisions? Has the Chief Risk Officer completed her due diligence on how carbon regulation and water scarcity issues may affect the company (and its supply chain) in the next decade? Does the EVP of Marketing understand the new rules on green marketing and how they may change (both for better and worse) what the company can say about its "eco-friendly" products?
It's absolutely essential that your company's executive team understands not just the tactical aspects of the sustainability plan, but also how sustainability risks and opportunities change the entire playing field.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this challenge (or else every C-suite would be sustainability-aligned). One general theme, however, is that you must translate sustainability language, activities, and priorities into the language that each executive speaks. You must use the concepts, methodologies, and tools pertinent to each job function. A CFO isn't going to connect with a pitch designed to speak to the EVP of Business Operations, and a CEO needs something different than what a Chief Risk Officer needs.
If you're struggling to tailor your message to a specific executive audience, we can help. Not only can we review your talking points and suggest improvements, but we've collected an impressive array of resources aimed specifically at individual executive job functions. Contact us today -- and get your executive team on board with sustainability.