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LEADERSHIP SKILLS FOR A SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY

The inspiration for the pictures in
this report is drawn from examples of
collaboration in nature. Competition is often
described as the dominant force in the fight
for survival. However cooperation is also
common in the natural world. Indeed as
rainforests and coral reefs reveal – the two
richest ecosystems on earth have evolved
through cooperation at every level.

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Copyright Alan Shawcross .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 How it was undertaken . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Business relevance is critical to success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 There is demand for more tailored support . . . . . . . . . . 9 Businesses are ready to lead the transition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 There are some clear areas to focus transferable learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Leading companies are already taking action . . . .Index Conclusions – the collective voice of business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 The aims of this inquiry . . . . 20 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Classical leadership skills are more relevant than ever . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Why this inquiry? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 What next? . . 12 Specific functions will also need to be targeted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Looking ahead: the future generation . . . . . . . . . . 8 What the findings tell us . .

economic success – as well as more and – although almost half As hard as it is right now – the to our social and environmental have already started – we still all clear call to action is to share well-being. Chief Executive. have the power to make a huge transferable business to business difference if we share transferable learning and from more tailored learning and apply what is great third party support – tangible in business to the sustainability programmes designed by and agenda. Why this inquiry? Business leaders continue to be ahead in the Almost everyone knows that skills will play transition to a sustainable economy. through state of play. Vincent de Rivaz. in my role as that individuals at every level in all types of HRH The Prince of Wales’s National Ambassador businesses are equipped with the skills they need for 2009. We can help make a low-carbon. very little research has previously been economic. through our supply chains. We learning and resources for our to take the lead. What does now. that we plan to do them in the timescale available. Collectively we believe we will benefit most from common good.Conclusions – the collective voice of business Developing the leadership skills The vast majority of leading The next challenge therefore is we need for the transition to businesses surveyed in this inquiry to identify what these tangible a sustainable economy is both are saying our businesses need programmes are and how to apply urgent and critical to our future to do more. narrow economic interest as well as our broader However. it is critical In recognition of this I committed. To enable this potential to be realised. We have an opportunity want to see a lot more action. We have an essential part in the move to a sustainable the power to make a difference and the will and economy and that the serious skills shortages capabilities to make things happen. EDF Energy Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy |  . key gaps. for business. The longer we wait the greater the costs of exist has tended to focus on technical rather than catch up. It is in our in many areas will pose an increasing problem. sustainable Further dialogue with forward-looking economy happen through transforming the sectors organisations was needed to identify the current we work in. and the best ways of filling innovation and through stakeholder influence. these gaps. enable the transition to a sustainable economy. leadership skills. to lead an inquiry with Business in the to take action on climate change and to prepare Community into the leadership skills needed to for a sustainable economy. social and environmental interest to act done on just what these skills might be.

Development Director. BSkyB Over 700 responses were given by individuals in  ike Barry. It looked in particular at the specific skills needed for those in senior. E for the Future Organisation & Brand Performance (Chair) T  rewin Restorick. Forum  va Eisenschimmel. Managing Director – Global programmes to develop sustainability skills. Lucy Carver. Ipsos MORI between March and April 2010. In parallel. Adnams and sustainability contacts were invited to participate. Head of Sustainable Business. T  o cut through the clutter – 3. To assess the current state of play amongst leading 4. The aims of this inquiry The inquiry focused on the skills applicable to business people across all levels and functions. Board-level Andy Wood. Chief Officer – People. M organisations of a mix of sizes and from a broad range Marks and Spencer of industry sectors.000 member organisations of Other businesses HRH The Prince of Wales’s Mayday Network on Climate Change. Global Action Plan Neville Farrington. Director – Change Strategies. T  o create a lasting legacy create a clear sense of direction – something active of meaning and substance 2.  | Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy . Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership EDF Energy S  tephanie Draper. Business in the Community This then informed an online quantitative survey Libby Sandbrook. Senior Advisor – Mayday Network distributed to over 2. Head of Sustainable Development. Head of Sustainability  mily Smith. Sustainability Communications E It began with a review of the existing literature Manager undertaken by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. WSP The responses therefore represent the views of those who have already started to engage. middle management and customer-facing roles. The fieldwork was conducted by Paul Turner. To mobilise business – create businesses – the challenges transformational change and how these can be through collaborative business- overcome. Lloyds TSB 12 qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with companies which have already created (or are planning) Stuart McLachlan. Operations. scaleable programmes and other resources How it was undertaken The inquiry was framed by a small Steering Other non-governmental organisations Committee of business and third sector leaders: R  uth Findlay-Brooks. Chief Executive. Director of the Bigger Picture. and the skills gaps led action to share transferable and means to fill them learning. Chief Executive Officer. It also looked at the extent of engagement with schools and higher education institutions on skills. Its aims were: 1. and of Business in the Community.

What the findings tell us 1. with to the success of the UK economy. profits and professional bodies) need to do more. 84 percent say have well or partly established skills development that third parties (including universities. likely to do more to incorporate sustainability skills into its business strategy in the next five years. 91 percent say Government needs to do though around half (48 percent) say they already more – two thirds say a lot more. 84 percent think there is an urgent need to put more programmes in place. 93 percent say that their business is facing UK businesses in the next five years. Businesses appreciate the importance of 3. 2. Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy |  . Businesses are ready to lead the transition 1. become one of the most pressing challenges Looking ahead. Only 15 There is a high level of demand for more action percent think developing the skills needed is well on the issue from the UK Government and third or partly established in UK businesses – even parties. This applies to those at we need for a sustainable economy is important senior. In fact 70 the majority saying a lot more needs to be done for percent agree that the gap in these skills will each of these groups. middle and customer-facing levels. Businesses are up for doing more the issue Around nine in ten agree that businesses need to Almost everyone (99 percent of respondents) do more to prepare their people for the transition recognises that developing the leadership skills to a sustainable economy. not for programmes in place in their own company. Businesses acknowledge not enough is being done 4. There is a solid demand for more action The common perception is that not much is yet from other stakeholders being done across business in general.

competitors. However the situation we need to apply them in is very new and much more complex and the timeframe is limited Leadership for the 21st century. globalisation. Business relevance is critical to success The transition to a sustainable economy is hard for people to get their heads around. Ashridge Journal Spring 2009 Context: the ability to identify the relevant social and environmental trends and their business implications and how to factor these into strategic decision making. NGOs or local communities 10 | Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy . increasing expectations regarding responsible business practice and the global financial crisis. 2. What is happening is truly immense: the complexities of a new economy influenced by factors such as climate change. Complexity: the ability to lead in the face of uncertainty. ambiguity and disagreement Connectedness: the ability to build effective relationships with new kinds of external partners – regulators. Many of the skills identified may be classical leadership skills.

Many businesses don’t understand where they are trying to get to on sustainability.There appear to be three main challenges: 1. We need examples of business success with sustainability at . 3. Envisioning how a sustainable economy might look The first challenge is envisioning how a sustainable economy might look. This highlights the value of transferable learning from well grounded case studies. the core. Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy | 11 . where the organisation intersects with society and the environment. Connecting with the commercial benefits of sustainability The second challenge is that many businesses haven’t connected with the commercial benefits of sustainability. There is a need to show each sector what a sustainable future looks like – and then they can ask ‘Do we have the skills to get there?’ Otherwise it gets very foggy – ‘Where do we start? What do we do?’ This lack of clarity on the direction of travel makes it difficult to see what kind of training [will be needed]. It is seen as a cost and only a cost. 2. Unless you’re able to distil this huge and amorphous sustainability agenda into something specific to the business agenda and relevant to people’s everyday roles it won’t be meaningful. Grounding solutions in day to day reality The third challenge is tailoring programmes to the specific needs of the organisation. and how it will work.

A range of skills are seen as important These leadership skills are seen as crucial or very important by the majority: The ability to consistently work towards a Sufficient knowledge about sustainability to longer term vision for how the organisation will translate it into successful business strategies contribute to a sustainable economy (87 percent) (88 percent) The ability to innovate in sustainable The ability to inspire change on sustainability in approaches. the third sector and community sustainable business decisions (84 percent) groups) towards a sustainable economy Commercial awareness to identify the risks (82 percent) and opportunities presented by a sustainable Effective and persuasive communication on economy (89 percent) sustainability issues. every day and embed sustainability so that they come up with . suggestions of how to make those processes more sustainable. products and a broad range of people within and outside of services (79 percent) the organisation (87 percent) The ability to work collaboratively with different The ability to empower a diverse range of stakeholders (such as other companies. technologies. It’s about encouraging people to own the processes they do . people within the organisation to make Government. using clear and accessible language (88 percent) 12 | Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy . not restricted to specific functions. Classical leadership skills are more relevant than ever The inquiry indicates classical Sustainable thinking needs to leadership skills are critical at all become embedded at a personal levels because of the need to drive level throughout the business and transformational change. 3.

Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy | 13 . and consistently work towards a to translate it into successful longer term vision (45 percent) business strategies (53 percent). were considered to be most and effective and persuasive important. percent) and the ability to empower (42 percent).There are some interesting variances depending on role: For senior managers and For middle managers For customer-facing staff board directors The most important skills were By far the most important skill is The ability to inspire change in viewed as having sufficient seen as effective and persuasive a range of people (53 percent) knowledge about sustainability communication (75 percent). These were followed communication using clear and by commercial awareness (42 accessible language (49 percent).

4 UNEP. risk management. 4. change management. monitoring and measuring. technical specialists. New styles finance. financial investment modelling and management with low carbon and resource efficiency in mind.2  pecific carbon and S accounting skills – sustainable procurement. product design. construction. and – most commonly marketing designers. Specific functions will also need to be targeted Various studies have highlighted some of the specific technical and generic functional skills needed:  echnical and sector skills T  he development of new T  variety of functions have A shortages – with a focus on managerial capacities been identified as potential skills such as energy. energy.4 efficiency. electricians and identifying staff have obtained. able to learn new skills. whole life costing. carbon accounting. Skills for a Low Carbon and Resource Efficient Economy – a review of the evidence (undated) 3 ibid. performance reporting. cost benefit and analysis and innovation and commercialisation skills. – managers must be willing and targets for skills development agriculture. energy and resource disciplinarians to coaches. environmental management systems. engineers and to make use of the skills their and communications. life cycle analysis. Final Report (Volume 2) (2009) 2 DEFRA.1  usiness planning skills B – including strategic business planning. Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable. building renovation. Low-Carbon World (2008) 14 | Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy . environmental services and manufacturing. waste.3 1 G HK. engineering and sectors including renewable with managers moving from logistics. skill shortages in a number of of management are called for. The Impacts of Climate Change on European Employment and Skills in the Short to Medium-Term: A Review of the Literature. HR. procurement.

There are some clear areas to focus transferable learning Pooling the lessons from these different sources. sharing experiences and transferable learning should be: For senior managers and For middle managers For customer-facing staff board directors Developing the ability to  C  reating a general awareness  nhancing the ability to develop E identify tangible business and understanding to enable a meaningful sustainable benefits – and to create a clear staff to communicate effectively business purpose short and longer term business case For all employees  ncouraging tenacity.5. E consistency and enthusiasm  nsuring sufficient knowledge E H  ighlighting personal relevance from the top and fostering the ability to in day to day job and career integrate this into business aspirations  Developing the ability to spot strategy Ensuring  that staff are engaged the game-changing strategic opportunity Creating tailored programmes at all times – not just a short targeting specific business shot in the arm  Embedding the ability to inspire functions P  roviding links to ongoing and empower others to come with you  nderstanding how to put in U support networks place clear metrics and periodic check backs Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy | 15 . it is clear that the focus for the development of resources.

Most are embedding sustainability skills development Employee engagement activities into business as usual. Commitments and the ways in which all employees can get involved. Individual performance managers who support its business customers to objectives and skills development were built in develop their knowledge and understanding of alongside links to Accenture’s wider sustainability environmental issues like natural resource depletion strategy to ensure the starter pack’s relevance and and climate change and the impact that these could resonance. .000 employees. and on the environment. It aims to help employees their store. Marks & Spencer has appointed a climate champion in each of its stores WSP providing awareness training and skills support as WSP’s Sustainability E-learning is targeted at its well as a toolbox of resources to help them to green 9. understand sustainability. This learning tool focuses on is open to all and aims to equip everyone to lead a low its sustainability strategy. 6. Leading companies are already taking action Companies are looking at a range of skills development options delivered across the business. and to recognise EDF Energy the commercial opportunities related to it. to get to know the company’s sustainability strategy. but to use the EDF Energy has developed a dynamic e-learning tool inspiration of the Games to make the whole nation to raise the basic awareness and understanding of more sustainable.000 employees globally. published Sustainability carbon lifestyle. This programme is being run internally. have on their customers. and give department talks. Developing leadership and management skills Accenture Accenture has worked with Global Action Plan to Lloyds Banking Group create a range of induction materials and supporting The corporate banking arm of the Lloyds Banking toolkits with the aim of building sustainability into Group has created a training programme for existing business roles. The Team Green Britain campaign all 20. 16 | Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy . Programmes focus on: Marks & Spencer Mass education and awareness raising As part of its Plan A commitment. As a sustainability partner of London 2012. EDF Energy aims not only to make the Olympic and EDF Energy Paralympic Games more sustainable. We go . with support from the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. At the other end of the spectrum is the induction training – everyone gets an update on health and safety. It’s everything from specialist courses to the day-to-day basics.

Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy | 17 . TUI Travel model [to be more sustainable] leads us to . customer-facing staff. commercial opportunities to save money. stakeholders redefining managers including BA (Hons) and Masters in the essence [of what business should focus Leadership & Management. purchasers and retail outlet managers. For the main part. engineering. those factors IBM driving businesses to build sustainability into their IBM announced a new supply chain programme in business strategies are also those that by extension April 2010 requiring its global first tier suppliers cause them to think about the skills that are needed to deploy a management system that addresses in their workforce to turn this into practice. One leads to the other. that we need to change our business . The recognition . functions within the organisation including engineers. But even the most advanced businesses acknowledge there is still much to be done. These courses have on] … As well as our customers. to procurement) A variety of internal and external triggers have prompted action. TUI Travel provides a range of sustainability skills ask whether we have the skills to effect . The include modules on corporate responsibility. corporate responsibility. waste management.  unctional specific programmes (for F The market opportunities and business example product development.Northumbrian Water Northumbrian Water is piloting courses for its Customer expectation. development programmes tailored for different that change. opportunities. property/facilities and energy management. Education modules have been prepared for IBM’s Global Supply staff to support them in this process. our employees been developed with Newcastle Business School and want to work for a good business.

wider businesses and external bodies T  raining sessions open to all levels Induction training 18 | Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy . job. Tailored third party assistance awareness and understanding 2. There is demand for more tailored support There is unmet demand for a wide range of support. All parts of the business will need to be targeted but targeted in different ways . job descriptions and The onus for providing this support education performance should be as much on Government and third parties as it is on P  ractical experience – on the T  ool boxes. . practical ‘how-to’ guides (79 percent). . The most useful resources are seen as in-house skills champions. mentoring and employee engagement programmes (79 percent). practitioner videos. Sharing transferable leaders in the world of approaches learning and scaleable skills sustainability programmes Inspirational communication. Mentoring and getting N  etworks of champions involved in networks/ – business line contact points M  ainstream toolkits practitioner groups – communications and C  ollaborative action with engagement suppliers. best practice examples (78 percent) and training programmes (72 percent). Complementing this with best practice examples and Tailored employee E  -learning and lecture style resources engagement activities – straightforward knowledge transfer and basic awareness 3. What we need is a mix of specific job skills and general awareness – everyone will need skills development. More specifically there is a demand for: More and better executive O  bjectives. 7. incentives and However the best way for peers employee recognition business to make something S  tructured reflection through F  unction specific middle happen quickly is business-led coaching or appreciative inquiry management skills development action: T  he immersion of business M  easurement tools and 1. project based. business. experiential train-the-trainer kits L  earning through mentors and N  ew awards. but some will need one hour of training whereas others will need three days.

smart metering need to be inspired by the I ncorporating and smart grids. including new skills requirements addition to focusing on specific Activities include: for technology advances in the low skills shortages. Ambassadors. 3M’s HR department has incorporated STEM Ambassadorship into its training programmes. Yet more action is needed to a sustainable economy and 41 Freedom Group is developing a extend engagement with schools percent that they were planning programme of school visits in and higher education institutes to do more in the next five years. 3M people to be inspiring Adnams runs a programme Worldlywise (www. An equally industry due to sector. as a way to develop employees’ ‘soft’ skills. through which MBA students business. student placements. jobs. coming from academia on important later phase of the specific skills shortages. mentoring S  ponsorship of PhD and engagement courses. To address the need to attract with schools to help develop the future employees into the skills needed to move towards engineering services sector. in higher education. engineers and new technology for a sustainable future. In particular.uk). partnership with its clients. and higher education volunteering. young people carbon economy. inquiry will need to focus on the using sustainability as a sustainability issues while future workforce. The and to share examples of different 36 percent currently engage with visits will cover a range of issues programmes. which can be used by at the University of East Anglia teaching professionals and STEM have placements in the business. co. and Adnams has also sustainable living and highlight worked with Cambridge University that society needs scientists. and placements Imagine what more programmes and internships for higher businesses could be doing education students to inspire young people 3M Adnams – and for that matter young 3M has developed a web- based teaching resource. The site aims to providing input on its sustainability educate 11 to 16 year olds about issues. Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy | 19 .Looking ahead: the future generation Faced with economic challenges E  ncouraging students to This programme allows us to the current focus is naturally on consider careers in their make the most of the ideas the existing workforce.3Mworldlywise. ‘hook’ to engage them in the students themselves get Nearly a third of survey industry issues to see how things are being respondents (31 percent) said their done in practice within Freedom Group organisation currently engages business. and renewable relevance of sustainability to all sustainability into schools energy sources.

and identify the ensuring that transferable resources – and organising a professions and industries learning. categories of employees: senior putting better support in place managers. will be translated into a range library and make available to other of visual communications and businesses to tailor and use for Addressing the implications provide the basis for a roadmap showing the constraining issues their own skills development. contribution to a sustainable engage and support companies in webinars and dinners. in The Taskforce will focus on four influencing businesses to act. Business in the Community this Sustainability Leadership – alongside the Cambridge Skills Initiative. 20 | Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy . To take this work forward – and Business in the Community as a these groups are being encouraged to enable business leadership joint initiative of the Mayday and to consider the implications of the on developing the skills required Talent and Skills Leadership Teams. learn and Programme for Sustainability Community is bringing together share resources Leadership. for Government and third. middle managers. tools leading companies is being formed. In conjunction with developing these skills. and prioritising skills development customer-facing staff and the for the future workforce in general workforce. What next? The call for action to begin Working with Business in the party organisations also have an active role to play. Business in the A Taskforce to lead. business leaders on their government involvement. is Believing visits. and other resources to support There is a demand for more initially for a 12 month period. a Taskforce of parties markers. they will work with associations and business advisers other stakeholders to address to advance the agenda of skills gaps in the provision of skills for a sustainable economy. and opportunities and the way- To lead this work. practical steps. sustainability journey. for a sustainable economy Business in the Community – a collaborative business-led will support the dissemination Creating a vision ‘Sustainability Leadership Skills of existing resources through We need to create a vision Initiative’ has been launched. economy. professional resources. Third programmes and resources. This to a business to business resource new programmes and resources. good practice and sectors. workshops. This creating an online road map within of what a sustainable future initiative is responding to the the Mayday Journey – providing looks like for different industry findings of the inquiry through guidance. scaleable programmes series of networking and thought where skills development and other resources are identified leadership events including Seeing would make a substantial and put in place to inspire. There is also a clear role for input In addition to sharing existing from trade bodies. findings. Global Action businesses to build a vision for We are calling on companies to Plan and Forum for the Future a positive. schools and higher education. Although the a collaborative business-led Community initiative is focusing on business to initiative The initiative is being led by business support and leadership. sustainable future identify skills programmes that – is supporting the Taskforce in – one that encourages and they are willing to share – to add developing and making available stimulates innovation.

Notes .

Notes .

This distance is too great for any one business to cover alone – collaborative business-led action is essential to share resources and address the skills gap. and also the distance we still have to travel. Chief Executive. At Business in the Community we make it our mission to help employers to do just that. The most effective businesses are those that can unlock the potential of their employees to play a positive role in creating transformational change in their workplace and communities. This skills inquiry has shown overwhelming recognition of the need for leadership skills on the issue of sustainability. Stephen Howard. Business in the Community 23 | Business in the Community | Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy .

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