2nd March 2011

The Emergence of the Chief Sustainability Officer

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The role of Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) is one of the hot topics in sustainability at the moment. It’s not the title that captures the attention, indeed many people we regard as CSOs are called something else – it’s the level of responsibility and the fact that it is a main board appointment.

The CSO puts sustainability alongside a select group of internal functions that make up the executive decision making team – which has a major impact on the strength of sustainability strategies. For all the candidates we work with at Acre, it adds a further layer of inspiration to those who want to get to the top of their profession.

I’m very grateful to Tony Henshaw, Chief Sustainability Officer at Vedanta Resources, and Jim Woods, Non-Executive Director at Acre, for the time they have put into this white paper. For me, the most striking insight is the broad skill set of the CSO and the parallels with the skill set of the CEO. I look forward to the time when a major company appoints their CSO as the new CEO; that may be the next defining moment in the progression of sustainability up the corporate agenda.

The Emergence of the Chief Sustainability Officer

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