Corporations must quickly incorporate sustainability methods throughout the entire organization or risk obsolescence, according to sustainability experts at Egon Zehnder International. The companies that recognize sustainability as a business imperative and implement strategic sustainability initiatives will drive superior business performance.
"Although many companies are now advancing aggressively on sustainability, some continue to view the topics as a troublesome compliance requirement or philanthropic excess," says Christoph Lueneburger, leader of Egon Zehnder International’s Sustainability Practice. "Those who fail to recognize that sustainability initiatives can raise a company’s productivity, efficiency, business reputation, and shareholder value will lose ground to their competitors."
Companies that have made dialogue about sustainability vibrant at every level of the organization have discovered that having the right talent is key to their success. "Going green is important, but sustainability also includes human capital and what types of leaders are needed to be prepared for the challenges of tomorrow, because that is ultimately what it means to be sustainable," he adds. "In addition, companies that have built sustainability into their DNA and brand find it far easier to attract and retain the best young talent entering the work force. This is a value that resonates deeply with the next generation of leaders."
Egon Zehnder has developed a sustainability model that includes three phases to implementing sustainability initiatives. Each requires a different set of leadership competencies, ranging from collaboration and influencing skills in the early phase to long-term investments and partnerships in the advanced stage.