Sustainability Thought Leaders Share Insights For 2020

April 2020 | Circle Environmental Solutions

2020 must be the beginning of a Decade of Action in the world of business. With the goal of helping our audience to connect with and join this action, we have reached out to our network of sustainability leaders to compile this list of what is top of mind for them and their teams as they enter this new decade.

Advice from Sustainability Practitioners

We believe in leading by example, and that those working on sustainability from within large and small organizations around the world have the greatest impact. There is no better voice from which to learn about what their priorities are than their own.

Quotes from Sustainability and CSR Leaders

Those who are responsible for leading environmental and social action within their organizations are critical to success in reaching global sustainability goals. They understand their organizations impacts, challenges, and opportunities better than anyone else, so they are the best suited to communicate these to the wider sustainability community.

Do you have any ideas for what should be top of mind for the 2020s? Send us a note on LinkedIn or contact us directly to continue the conversation! 

“In an interconnected world, our progress towards a greener future should be equally interconnected. Whether that is by bolstering clean-tech start-ups, by continuing to partner with businesses charting a path towards clean growth, or by hosting nations of the world in Canada for this year’s World Circular Economy Forum in the Fall, our government will continue to foster innovative solutions to solve the problems of today for the Canada of tomorrow.”

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Peter Schiefke

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Peter Schiefke

Global Business Leaders

“More than ever, companies are being challenged if not forced to have a stakeholder approach and to think of the greater good (employees, communities). CSR professionals will be critical in helping organizations align their purpose and their business strategy to help businesses navigate and succeed in these uncertain times.”

Corporate Director of Environment, Kruger Inc.

Chrystal Healy

Corporate Director of Environment, Kruger Inc.
Chrystal Healy

"Companies will one day integrate sustainability in all its functions, but short term, we need leaders capable of translating the sustainability jargon into a language that the business can understand."

Climate Change Advisor and Global Manager Sustainability, Phillip Morris International

Carlos Sanchez

Climate Change Advisor and Global Manager Sustainability, Phillip Morris International
Carlos Sanchez

“As collective awareness of the climate and ecological emergency rises, leadership will no longer be determined by WHAT your organisation is committed to do but rather HOW it seeks to deliver. For example, “Net Zero” targets are increasingly commonplace, but if achieved only through continued growth in emissions plus increasing amounts of carbon offsetting, it cannot be a systemic solution to the climate crisis.”

Global Sustainability Director - Climate & Environment, Unilever

Thomas Lingard

Global Sustainability Director - Climate & Environment, Unilever
Thomas Lingard

“The biggest trends in sustainability today are science-based targets for greenhouse gases and water, designing and propelling a circular economy and greater transparency into company operations, as driven by customers and ESG investors. All three of these trends will be impactful, but the circular economy may have the greatest potential for positive impact as it will shift paradigms of production and consumption. Creating a widespread circular economy may also be the most challenging of these goals as it requires enormous changes in attitudes and behaviors.”

Vice President, Corporate Social & Environmental Responsibility, Flex

Bruce Klafter

Vice President, Corporate Social & Environmental Responsibility, Flex
Bruce Klafter

Finance and Insurance

"The crisis we face is unprecedented. The slowly developing climate crisis and the rapidly evolving global pandemic urges us to radically rethink our business paradigms. During a crisis we find the best opportunities to radically change the system. Building resilient, regenerative and just economic system and actors has to become our new leitmotiv."

CEO, Æquo Shareholder Engagement Services

Jean-Philippe Renaut

CEO, Æquo Shareholder Engagement Services
Jean-Philippe Renaut

“Given the magnitude of the challenges we face, we must toss anything that isn’t immediately helpful. This is why I, after three decades in the mainstream sustainability and CSR worlds, have jettisoned the traditional business case for sustainability. By re-wiring the role – the explicit legal purpose - of the corporation, we`ll unshackle entrepreneurs from the narrow impatience of shareholder value obsession. B Corps are a successful global experiment of people using business as a force for good. They show us how business can help build a different, better future.”

Director, Purpose Entrepreneurship, BDC

Craig Ryan

Director, Purpose Entrepreneurship, BDC
Craig Ryan

“Making senior management aware of the new existing (climate) stakeholders and linking and exchanging them on big societal questions is a top priority. As well as the way, how to integrate more sustainable aspects into products and services as customers demand it more frequently.”

Chief Sustainability Officer, AXA Switzerland

Thomas Hügli

Chief Sustainability Officer, AXA Switzerland
Thomas Hügli

“Data is the lingua franca of sustainability — and right now, almost everything is getting lost in translation. The longer it takes to standardize and mainstream this practice, the less likely we are to endure the coming crisis. But I am encouraged by the prospect of data harmonization and fully support the push for a common taxonomy.”

Global Head of Sustainability, Nasdaq

Evan Harvey

Global Head of Sustainability, Nasdaq
Evan Harvey

"Our economy will only transform at scale when it will be mandatory for every enterprise to publish their annual impact statement, consisting of the balance sheet of the negative and positive environmental and social impact of 100% of their activities, based on a transparent & universal framework. Spending, investing and lending to optimize impact will be possible via open source access to true global impact performance indicators."

Chief Ecosystem Officer, Impak Finance

Paul Allard

Chief Ecosystem Officer, Impak Finance
Paul Allard

Advisors and Consultants

"There has never been more energy, enthusiasm, and momentum behind corporate environmental responsibility. However, as we face challenges to the status quo from viruses, social transformation, climate change, and more, it has never been more important to understand how your business fits into the sustainability landscape."

CEO, Circle Environmental Solutions

Lucas Fraser

CEO, Circle Environmental Solutions
Lucas Fraser

“The climate crisis will not go away just because we are overwhelmed with other issues. What we should learn from the pandemic: - listen to the experts! - strong early action saves enormous cost and pain later - a lot of what we use fossil fuels for is unnecessary - when we pull together, we can make enormous changes faster than most thought possible.”

President, Saxe Facts: Climate, Energy, Environment

Dianne Saxe

President, Saxe Facts: Climate, Energy, Environment
Dianne Saxe

“We are facing a multi-trillion-dollar climate, water and deforestation crisis over the coming decades. The 2020s must be the decade of rapid transition. Businesses are reporting $1 trillion of risks but $2.1 trillion of opportunities – so there’s clearly a massive profit incentive for companies to act now. Companies must urgently set 1.5 degree aligned Science Based Targets and take meaningful action in their supply chains if they plan to survive and thrive in the 2020s.”

Global Director of Corporations & Supply Chains, CDP

Dexter Galvin

Global Director of Corporations & Supply Chains, CDP
Dexter Galvin

“In 2020 and the years to come, the health of our planet (climate, biodiversity, water, air quality) must guide every decision we make — on a personal, industrial and societal level. Little steps are not enough. We need big systemic changes or we will soon be forced to take tough adaptation measures.”

Head of Sustainability Communications, Quantis International

Amanda Martin

Head of Sustainability Communications, Quantis International
Amanda Martin

Small Business Leaders

To be honest, our business model has never made more sense than now. The foundation of our business has been built on prioritizing local businesses, building solid partnerships to create a sustainable ecosystem. These unprecedented times bring us back to our roots, to offer effective, unscented and refillable home + body care products to Canadian families. More than ever we believe in using the power of business as a force for good.

Sustainable Marketing Director, The Unscented Company

Halina Torresan

Sustainable Marketing Director, The Unscented Company
Halina Torresan

“Where the 2000s were about “green” and 2010s about “sustainability”, the 2020s will be defined by ESG. Environmental, social and governance considerations will be factored into virtually every aspect of business, from individual hiring to public offerings. In the real estate industry this will be most radical and noticeable at the asset level where individual transactions – from leasing to appraisal to buy/sell – will flex based on ESG. It is the Era Measurabl was built to serve. And enable.”

CEO, Measurabl

Matt Ellis

CEO, Measurabl
Matt Ellis

“2020 has already proven to be year of great disruption, and this is just the beginning. Do not sit back and relax if you want to enjoy the ride. I raise my glass of natural wine to the new generations, because like it or not, they are auditing our values of liberty without biodiversity, of democracy without inclusion nor reparation. Change, whether for the better or the worse, scares us. If we want an outcome for the better, we must be bold enough to face the storm.”

Director, Earth Day Canada and Jour de la Terre France

Pierre Lussier

Director, Earth Day Canada and Jour de la Terre France
Pierre Lussier

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