The role of Leadership in Sustainability

Although the importance of sustainability has been presented by many researches, how to implement this concept into practice is still a problem. The sustainability relates with all section of business,  but the core capital of business is human capital. Therefore, in my views, leadership influence may play a major role in applying sustainability.

Peter Bakker, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, also argues that business leader should know the positive impact of sustainable and integrate it into operations. He suggests that the way of incorporating sustainability into business is that consider sustainability as risk management. (

Additionally, the companies that applying sustainability strategy almost have a leader who emphases the importance of  sustainability. Leadership not only influences on making company strategy but also guides the company culture.

Here is an example of IKEA sustainability strategy, which may give some ideas about how to implement sustainability.





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2 comments on “The role of Leadership in Sustainability
  1. kstokely2014 says:

    I agree that leadership plays a critical role in supporting organizations transition into #sustainable enterprises. I think you are right that it is often easier to make this type of change if it is something that senior management wants and builds into everyone’s score cards however, I also believe it is possible to affect change from within an organization.

    Much like the discussion of the need for consumers to put pressure on organizations to adopt more sustainable practices through purchasing from organizations that do and boycotting others, I believe that employees within an organization can apply a similar type of pressure by choosing to work for sustainable organizations and by applying ‘green’ practices to the activities that they undertake at work. Front-line employees who know the ins and outs of a business are in a prime location to be able to identify areas of waste within operations and can make suggestions about small changes that can amount to big savings for both the company and the environment.

    While strong leadership will likely facilitate this process, I think it is important that we put the pressure on everyone to try and make the difference. There are many more ‘worker bees’ than bosses in the world; I think it is important that we don’t give the message that only bosses can affect change because this takes the pressure off the masses to help.

    At the end of the day, everyone needs to understand that they can make a difference and that our planet needs them to make the change NOW!.

  2. riettevisser says:

    I agree with this post wholeheartedly. Companies have to change their sustainability policies to must do’s instead of nice to have’s. Businesses have to take the lead on this and consumers will follow, and it has to be at the heart of your company’s business. IKEA have integrated sustainability into their entire supply chain, and have looked at how small differences such as changing the pallets that you use, can make a massive difference. I think that more companies can take this example that IKEA has set and integrate small changes that have massive spinoff effects.

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