As corporate sustainability challenges grow more complex, chief sustainability officers (CSOs) are being hired at record rates. They come from diverse professional backgrounds, underscoring the multidisciplinary nature of the role, and often find themselves navigating uncharted waters, tasked with steering an entire enterprise toward ambitious goals. This mandate demands more than just technical knowledge, it demands leadership, vision, and the ability to inspire change at all levels.

While technical guidance on sustainability is widely available through consultants, vendors, and the scientific community, there remains a significant gap in the transfer of practical wisdom. The Green Seat Guide bridges that gap with insights, strategies, and lessons learned from experienced sustainability executives. The aim of the guide is to accelerate the impact of sustainability leaders, new and experienced, by offering practical guidance and learned wisdom from those who have pioneered the role.

Each chapter focuses on an essential component of the sustainability journey and includes a selection of ready-to-use tools to support the adoption of key ideas and tactics.

Chapter 1 – Developing a sustainability strategy

Crafting a sustainability strategy is a foundational, if daunting, part of a sustainability leader’s mandate. Success requires rapid, comprehensive learning about a complex enterprise and a nuanced grasp of the forces that motivate your key stakeholders.

Chapter 1 of The Green Seat Guide explores the art of crafting a sustainability strategy, drawing on the rich insights of those who have navigated this process before.

It is comprised of seven sections: 

  1. Getting to know your business inside and out 
  2. Roughing out a draft strategy
  3. Conducting a materiality assessment
  4. Defining top strategic priorities
  5. Setting targets
  6. Roadmapping and resourcing your sustainability strategy
  7. Engaging with external coalitions, pledges, and third-party validation

The chapter also offers tools to support the adoption of key ideas and tactics, including: 

  • Tool A: Sustainability landscape assessment checklist
  • Tool B: Preferred consulting and technology solutions
  • Tool C: Sustainability accountability map components
  • Tool D: Overview of commonly used sustainability reporting frameworks
  • Tool E: Materiality assessment preparation checklist
  • Tool F: Essential elements of a sustainability roadmap
  • Tool G: Common product sustainability certifications

Share this report