Why sustainability roles and responsibilities are the kick-start for getting your sustainability activities rolling within the company.
They play an important role in CSRD regulation and ESRS sustainability reporting requirements. Indeed, they are even more than that: they decide if sustainability gets rolling in a company and takes momentum or not. The first thing companies need to do is to define basic roles and responsibilities for sustainability. This can kick-start activities such as materiality analysis or strategy processes.
This is what you could do:
1️⃣ 𝗖𝗘𝗢 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲
Given the strategic and transformational character of sustainability, overall responsibility is with the CEO.
2️⃣ 𝗖𝗙𝗢 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗘𝗦𝗚-𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴/𝗜𝗥
The ESG reporting is increasingly linked to investor relations and the capital market. Therefore, companies move up sustainability KPIs and reporting to regular Finance & Controlling with the interface to investor relations.
3️⃣ 𝗘𝘅𝗲𝗰𝘂𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝗕𝗼𝗮𝗿𝗱
Executive board sets strategy and targets, decides strategic initiatives. The supervisory board is responsible for supervising the executive board with respect to ESG opportunities & risks.
4️⃣ 𝗘𝘅𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗔𝗱𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝗕𝗼𝗮𝗿𝗱
A board of diverse external sustainability experts who contribute outside sustainability perspective and expertise to the company.
5️⃣ 𝗗𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗦𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗠𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗿
A dedicated sustainability manager reports to the CEO, connecting the dots and coordinating sustainability activities within the company.
6️⃣ 𝗦𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗧𝗲𝗮𝗺
Larger companies face diverse sustainability requirements specifically on communication, measuring and reporting that the sustainability manager has own staff as support.
7️⃣ 𝗘𝗻𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱 𝗥𝗼𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗙𝘂𝗻𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀
To embed sustainability in the company, it is important to enrich existing core functions with sustainability aspects, e.g. in procurement, marketing, sales or production, this can include specific responsibilities or also consulting or veto roles in decisions.
8️⃣ 𝗦𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀
To engage employees and broaden sustainability culturally in the organization and in different locations, sustainability champion roles are often captured by intrinsically motivated employees, independent of function and hierarchy, who coordinate local sustainability activities at their location and act as a multiplier.
Mid-sized companies can start with the tandem of managing director and a dedicated Sustainability Manager role efficiently, starting basic processes such as materiality analysis and a sustainability strategy, which then includes further actions on detailing roles and responsibilities in the organization.