Sustainable Leadership: The Urgency of Sustainable Leaders in Facing Global Challenges

Sustainable Leadership: The Urgency of Sustainable Leaders in Facing Global Challenges 2560 1696 Maxima


Sustainable Leadership: The Urgency of Sustainable Leaders in Facing Global Challenges

21 April 2024 | by Maxima

In an era of global challenges, the role of sustainable leaders is increasingly vital in driving innovation and supporting business sustainability. They understand climate risks and integrate sustainability strategies to create added value. Their presence attracts purpose-driven talent and helps build an appealing corporate culture. Although leadership positions focused on sustainability are becoming more common, every leader needs to develop competencies in this area. Consult your needs with Maxima Impact Consulting now.

In facing global challenges, sustainable leaders are accustomed to handling complex responsibilities, thereby playing a vital role in initiating and supporting sustainability initiatives. This becomes a key characteristic of a sustainable leader.

Over time, sustainable leadership has evolved from being an option to a necessity in addressing global social challenges and climate risks. The Value Reporting Foundation (2021)—formerly the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board—found that approximately 68 out of 77 industries are “significantly affected by various climate risks.” This highlights the urgency of integrating sustainability strategies into business operations. The presence of sustainable leaders within companies enables them to understand and address these risks, not only mitigating losses but also creating value and competitive advantage.

According to Harvard Business Review (2017), the implementation of sustainability directly contributes to a company’s financial performance. The research explains that sustainable products show faster growth compared to non-sustainable products. This indicates strong consumer preference for companies that operate responsibly and sustainably, proving that sustainable leaders can leverage sustainability as a driver of innovation and growth for the company.

In response to this phenomenon, another main reason for the growth of sustainable leadership is its ability to attract purpose-driven talent. A 2021 Gallup study revealed that the majority of workers prioritize companies that implement sustainability as their workplace of choice. This shows that sustainable leaders are essential not only in ensuring operational sustainability but also in building a corporate culture that appeals to the current generation of workers.

While there is an increase in sustainable leadership roles, such as ESG heads, sustainability directors, and chief sustainability officers, all business/organization leaders need to develop their competencies around sustainability. Positioning oneself as a sustainable leader requires more than just theoretical understanding of sustainability; it demands deep insights into industry-specific risks, global challenges, and potential mitigation strategies. Strategic positions within companies focused on sustainability are now in high demand for leadership roles, but every leader, regardless of their position, should develop competencies in this area. An example of a sustainable leader is Oliver Hermes, CEO of Wilo, who successfully led his company to become part of the “50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders Worldwide.” Wilo is among the 49 companies contributing significantly to current issues such as environmental and climate protection or social justice, while also presenting the results of their sustainable actions in short digital documentaries.

The example above has been faced by various business leaders in different places. However, as times continue to transform, so do the needs, requiring businesses to adjust their leadership figures to face challenges for sustainability. Integrating sustainability into the leadership DNA not only responds to investor or regulatory pressures but also strengthens the long-term viability of the company and its contribution to sustainable development. Sustainable leaders, with their deep understanding and commitment to sustainability, are key to achieving a fairer, greener, and more sustainable world.

So, what are the sustainable leadership needs in your company? Now is the time to consult with Maxima Impact Consulting.