What Is a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)?
As sustainability has become increasingly important in the business world, more and more companies are hiring a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) to oversee their sustainability efforts.
The job duties of a CSO vary depending on the company and industry, but in general, a CSO is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to ensure that the company operates in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner.
This Nature’s Packaging post will explore the job duties of a CSO, why a company would hire one, and provide real-life examples of CSOs that work for companies in the forest products industry.
Job Duties of a CSO
The job duties of a CSO typically include developing and implementing sustainability strategies, monitoring the company’s environmental and social performance, engaging with stakeholders, managing sustainability-related risks and opportunities, and communicating the company’s sustainability efforts to internal and external audiences. A CSO may be responsible for:
- Developing and implementing sustainability strategies: The CSO is responsible for developing a sustainability strategy that aligns with the company’s overall business strategy. This may involve setting sustainability targets, identifying sustainability risks and opportunities, and developing plans to reduce the company’s environmental and social impact.
- Monitoring environmental and social performance: The CSO is responsible for monitoring the company’s environmental and social performance, including tracking greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, waste generation, and social impact metrics. This involves working with other departments within the company to gather data and analyze performance.
- Engaging with stakeholders: The CSO is responsible for engaging with stakeholders, including investors, customers, suppliers, and local communities. This may involve holding meetings or consultations to gather feedback on the company’s sustainability efforts and collaborating with stakeholders to develop sustainability initiatives.
- Managing sustainability-related risks and opportunities: The CSO is responsible for identifying sustainability-related risks and opportunities and developing strategies to manage them. This may involve working with other departments within the company to develop risk management plans and conducting sustainability assessments of suppliers and partners.
- Communicating sustainability efforts: The CSO is responsible for communicating the company’s sustainability efforts to internal and external audiences. This may involve developing sustainability reports, presenting sustainability data to investors and other stakeholders, and engaging with the media to promote the company’s sustainability initiatives.
Why Hire a Chief Sustainability Officer?
Companies hire CSOs for several reasons. First, a CSO can help a company improve its sustainability performance, reduce its environmental impact, and enhance its reputation with customers and investors.
Second, a CSO can help a company identify and manage sustainability-related risks and opportunities, which can lead to cost savings and increased efficiency.
Finally, a CSO can help a company stay ahead of evolving sustainability regulations and standards, ensuring that the company is compliant with all relevant regulations.
Examples of a Chief Sustainability Officer
Real-life examples of CSO’s in the forest products industry include:
- Sophie Beckham-Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, International Paper: International Paper is one of the world’s leading producers of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp, and paper. Sophie Beckham is responsible for leading International Paper’s sustainability efforts, including setting targets to reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and waste generation.
- Deborah Dull-Principal and Founder, Circular Supply Chain Network: Deborah Dull is a sustainability consultant who works with companies in the forest products industry to develop circular supply chain strategies that reduce waste and improve efficiency. She has worked with companies such as Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble to develop innovative sustainability initiatives.
- Emilio Tenuta-Vice President of Corporate Sustainability, Ecolab: Ecolab provides water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services to customers in a variety of industries, including the forest products industry. Emilio Tenuta is responsible for leading Ecolab’s sustainability efforts, including developing and implementing sustainability strategies that align with the company’s business objectives and customer needs.
The role of a Chief Sustainability Officer is becoming increasingly important in today’s business world as companies strive to improve their sustainability performance and reduce their environmental impact.