Sustainable leadership for a world in transition

In many regards, our current way of producing, living and working has proven to be unsustainable. We have to change track and pursue a path in alignment to environmental, social and economic imperatives. Actors as diverse as policy-makers, businesses, managers and citizens have to contribute their fair share to attain the Sustainable Development Goals. With its Sustainable Leadership Guidelines, CEC European Managers provides innovative and practical advice to managers for transforming thought patterns, behaviours and processes in companies and beyond.

Since sustainable development consists of multiple dimensions and requires action at all levels, both political framework conditions and practices in organisations need to evolve. As a European social partner and organisation representing managers, CEC thinks both aspects together. There is urgency in shifting the current paradigm and reinvent the way we conceive both policies and the purpose of organisations in the light of the pressing environmental, but also social and economic challenges we are currently facing.

In fact, reorienting the purpose of organisations towards environmental and social objectives seems to also pay off economically. For instance, mounting evidence suggests[1] that firms investing in (material) sustainability tend to outperform other companies on traditional measures of performance. Despite that, only few companies have a unified sustainability strategy and even fewer have followed-up with actions, according to a McKinsey survey[2].

Against that background, the three intertwined dimensions of sustainable development [3] offer useful insights to businesses on what to change. They are helpful to understand the different impacts of production and consumption patterns. However, it is crucial to make sense of them at individual level: as a manager, as a worker or as a citizen. Furthermore, the question of “what impact” (on the environment etc.) is closely tied to the procedural “how” of achieving change. For these reasons, personal and procedural sustainability add to the classical dimensions of economy, society and environment in the Sustainable Leadership Guidelines.

Discover how leadership can contribute to driving the sustainable shift and attain the Sustainable Development Goals in our guidelines (PDF) and share our social media cards from the sustainability campaign!

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[3] Environment, society and economy