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Sustainability Career Paths: How To Become A Leader

Date: 19 February 2013

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7 pages

Executive Summary

Corporate sustainability leadership positions are becoming more frequent, but as the profession is still in its youth, career paths within the field are unclear to most practitioners. This report, written by Verdantix in partnership with GACSO (Global Association of Corporate Sustainability Officers), helps sustainability professionals to understand the stepping stones to the top, and helps those looking to enter the profession to understand entry points and how to progress. With few graduate level positions in corporate sustainability, practitioners face a critical choice on where to develop the skills required to make it to the top. Analysis of career data from GACSO members and public profiles finds two broad, but distinct, paths. Almost a third of current leaders had consulting or NGO positions before gaining corporate roles. Meanwhile a significant portion entered the profession sideways, having moved from senior business roles. The report highlights that executives shaping their career in the sector need to consider the diversity of skills and experience needed to achieve credibility with internal business leaders and external stakeholders alike.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

MAKING SENSE OF SUSTAINABILITY CAREER PATHS
Corporate Sustainability Career Paths Include A Vast Array Of Roles
Two Significant Routes To Sustainability Leadership Stand Out

HOW TO SHAPE YOUR CAREER TO BECOME A LEADER IN SUSTAINABILITY

TABLE OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Sustainability Professionals’ Formal Sustainability-Related Education
Figure 2. Sustainability Professionals’ Career Paths
Figure 3. Sustainability Professionals’ Responsibilities

ORGANIZATIONS MENTIONED

AEA, BBC, BITC, B&Q, Climate Counts, Deloitte, DHL, Ernst & Young, Forest Stewardship Council, Forum for the Future, GACSO, Harvard University, HSBC, IKEA, Imperial College, John Lewis, KPMG, Lend Lease, McDonalds, PaperlinX, PwC, Roche, SAP, Simply Sustainable, T-Mobile, Travelodge, Unilever, University of Cambridge, WWF