Strategic Business Sustainability

WANTED: Strategic roles for sustainability managers

I saw an interesting-looking role advertised recently: Sustainability Strategy Manager.  From the title, it seemed like it could be interesting.  Sadly, when I read it, it wasn’t what I’d hoped.  The role reported into Marketing and seemed to be more to do with external communication than with building strategic sustainability capability within the business.

Describing what you DO want

When I see something that disappoints me, I like to take some time to work out what it is I wanted to see.  So here’s my description of the job I’d hoped it would be – the work of a Strategic Sustainability Manager.  It’s probably a figment of my imagination – but imagine what  could be different if it was implemented across our  major listed companies!


Strategic Business SustainabilityA publicly  listed company requires a Strategic Sustainability Manager to work across the Asia-Pacific region. The primary focus of this role will be to assist the CEO, executive team  and board to understand the range of emerging business opportunities developing from sustainability and regenerative thinking and to assist them in setting strategic directions for the business over the coming decade.

Reporting to the Chairman of the Board, responsibilities will include:

  • Educate the board and senior executives on the straightforward principles and proven practices of regenerative thinking which underpin profitable long-term  sustainability strategies.
  • Develop plans for building resource and life-cycle literacy across the organisation.
  • Develop plans for building innovation and communication skills across the organisation.
  • Work with key supply chain players internally and externally to understand up-stream and down-stream opportunities of strategic sustainability and regenerative thinking practices.

Desired Skills & Experience

A deep knowledge of regenerative business thinking and strategies is critical, as is the ability to communicate it to senior executives.  The expected knowledge base includes service-based economics, closed loop capitalism and biomimicry-based design.

Candidates will be required to demonstrate familiarity with and experience of concepts such as:

  • Product-of-Service business strategies.
  • Life Cycle Analysis and Design for the Environment.
  • Design for Re-Manufacture.
  • Biomimicry implementations.
  • Factor 4 and Factor 10 resource usage reductions.

Key skills and knowledge for success in this role will be:

  • A deep knowledge of the foundations of sustainable business design, including but not limited to “Natural Capitalism“, “Cradle to Cradle“, “The Natural Step” and “Biomimicry“.
  • An understanding of key factors important in building and sustaining successful business strategy.
  • Facilitation and communication skills to explain regenerative thinking and the business opportunities of sustainability in strategic terms.
  • The ability to build relationships based on integrity and trust.

Successful candidates are expected to have:

  • Formal qualifications in human communication, business development and innovation adoption.
  • A proven deep understanding of successful regenerative business strategy and practice.
  • Excellent coaching, facilitation and relationship-building skills.

As I said in my opening remarks, this isn’t a real job (that I know of) …   yet.  And imagine the difference it could make!

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