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The concept of ‘sustainability’, as we know it today, was first introduced in 1987 in the famous Brundtland (for Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland) Report produced by several countries for the UN. The report defined sustainable development as meeting ‘the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ and rests on 3 pillars: social, economic and environmental.
The first Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) for a publicly traded company was Linda Fisher, appointed by DuPont in 2004. By 2011, there were 29 CSOs at publicly traded companies in the United States. The CSO’s domain includes the responsibility of an organization’s environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG).
ESG considerations have become more important as Generation Y and Z make up the largest segment of the US population and, therefore, make the majority of buying decisions and talent pool. As one sales leader said, “I hope sales can lead the sustainability play to make it (sales) more attractive to younger generations.”
Additionally, just as the COVID pandemic accelerated trends/movements already in motion (e.g. the digital transformation of many businesses), it also accelerated the urgency around sustainability – particularly its impact on sales. According to Paul Rector, VP and GM, Global Accounts, Lenovo, “It’s become imperative to have a story (regarding Sustainability) and really do it…We have offerings that help our customers with their sustainability efforts. Companies realized that in the first 6 months of COVID, they were able to impact the climate positively. Companies want to keep the positive impact.”
Three Ways Sales Can Support Sustainability Initiatives:
Orchestrating and implementing your sustainability strategy can have tangible benefits (increasing your brand value, to creating efficiencies, to increasing revenues and profits, to attracting valuable talent and creating new business opportunities and GTM strategies). Is your sales organization ready?
This blog post is part of Forrester’s Earth Day 2022 series. For more Forrester insights on sustainability, see the full set of Forrester’s climate action blogs.
We should be taking confident and courageous strides toward creating future-generation-safe companies through purposeful actions such as reducing carbon through efficient and clean energy usage, minimizing water usage, expanding the use of sustainable raw materials, and increasing recyclable packaging while decreasing packaging altogether. These actions would support the overall theme this year of “Invest In […]
The theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest In Our Planet.” In the leadup to the main event on April 22, it’s not unusual for scores of companies big and small and newcomers and household names in every industry to take to social media to highlight their efforts for investing in our planet. After all, […]