Checklist for Sustainable Leadership: Do You Have What it Takes?

Blog by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Company
Nov 24, 2010 12:56 PM ET

Taiga Company blog by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Compa…

Consider the following findings from the Hay Group: Research conducted worldwide shows that leadership contributes to 70% of corporate atmosphere, while corporate atmosphere contributes to 30% of corporate performance. Therefore, leadership can exert direct influence on 21% of corporate performance. 

Sustainable business leaders are evaluating new markets, new products, and going after the most innovative people.  At a high level, these organizations are defined by common characteristics:  
  1. Company has a genuine commitment to sustainability by management at the highest level, with sustainability principles present in core values and business strategies. 

  2. Sustainability strategies are cascaded down through management and are incorporated into organizational and individual performance goals. 

  3. Employees are informed, motivated , and actively engaged in the company’s sustainability program. 

  4. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)  for sustainability are fully integrated into the business processes, corporate performance, and employee recognition. 

  5. Company has active dialog with key stakeholders on sustainability issues, including customer to understand how sustainability issues relate to different market segments. 

  6. Product stewardship is integrated into the development process, with production and procurement decision-making supporting more sustainable choices. 

  7. A Supply Chain Management strategy that aligns company and supplier performance targets to deliver a sustainable supply and stimulate product innovation. 

  8. Business risks and opportunities associated with sustainable development are well-understood and communicated to key stakeholders, especially investors. 

  9. Defined strategies to ensure business sustainability initiatives add value both to the company and community and to the business.

  10. Transparent reporting on sustainability concepts and sensitive issues, with both positive and negative results.

  In addition to executive management playing a critical role in the success of a company, business sustainability requires leadership across the entire organization.  While management may ultimately carry the responsibility of sustainable business results, employees have a part to play in the definition and implementation of the company’s business sustainability programs.  Whether led by a sustainability executive or traditional management, a sustainable organization has many teams and key roles for individuals seeking to become leaders: click here to continue reading.

Home to one third of the earth's trees, the Taiga is the largest land-based biosphere and encircles the globe. Its immense oxygen production literally changes the atmosphere and refreshes the planet. It is this continuous renewal that has shaped Taiga Company's vision to drive similar change in the business world. Taiga Company seeks to be the "oxygen for your business".