CIRCL College Tour #21: 7 Roles to create Sustainable Success
Back to the lecture halls with CIRCL College Tour! In this program you will learn everything about themes that are relevant for the transition to a sustainable, circular economy. Each month we invite an expert, professor or visionary to give a lecture about the scientific developments of the future.
Accelerating sustainability in business will boost green en social recovery in the post COVID-19 era. The blueprints to make this happen are there, from the Paris Agreement, Doughnut Economics to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, but in the end, business need people who can get things done. That’s where the book “7 Roles to Create Sustainable Success” comes into play.
In this lecture, Carola Wijdoogen, author, former CSO of NS and cofounder of Sustainability University Foundation, will explain the need for companies – especially during COVID-19 – to accelerate sustainability in their business. in fact, she will introduce the (science based) 7 roles needed to develop a sustainable strategy and to translate the strategy into action and innovation.
Moreover, she will share her own journey as a previous CSO using the 7 Roles to integrate sustainability in the core activities. In addition, she will highlight insights of the other contributors to the book, such as e.g. Kate Raworth and other professionals using the 7 roles in their companies like e.g. Google, Interface Europe, Unilever Benelux, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi Strauss, Arcadis, Dow, The Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels, Kellogg Company, Microsoft, DSM, Sifca Group and Ingka Group.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” but if you are a sustainability or business professional, come and join the next episode of CIRCL College Tour to find out how the 7 roles can be used to create sustainable impact!
A few questions as discussed in the webinar are highlighted below but watch the webinar for the full story!
What are the 7-roles to create sustainable success?
You can use these roles to integrate sustainability or circularity into your company. You have to combine and fill in all the roles to achieve your goals in the organization. As an sustainability of Corporate Social Responsibility
In the networker role you engage your stakeholders to find out where the impact of your company should be. Secondly, the strategist role, here you integrate sustainably or circular economy into you strategy. Once you have developed your strategy you have to translate this strategy into a framework and goals for your company and this happens in the coordinator role. Allowing your business units and staff departments to come up with plans in order to achieve the objectives that you defined in collaboration with senior management. These three aforementioned roles are more formal roles, using formal and structural elements in an organization.
The informal roles
The four other roles are more informal. In the fourth and fifth role, the mentor role and the stimulator role you use your communication skills to trigger bottom up initiatives. In the stimulator role you bring outsiders or outside influences into the company to challenge your organization. And with the mentor role you do this on an individual level, you empower your colleges to integrate sustainability or circularity in his or her job. The sixth role being the innovator role is also very important. This role is important because you have to innovate in order to become a circular company. Lastly, the seventh role which is the monitor role. In this role you gain insight on whether you are still on track to achieve your goals. If this is not the case then an intervention is needed.
How do the roles relate to internal and external stakeholders?
Some of the roles are more internally focused, like the mentor role where you empower your colleagues to integrate sustainability or circular skills into their jobs or profession. On the other hand, some of the roles are more externally focused, like the stimulator role where you take the outside in and you challenge your organization to step up. In the different roles the balance between external and internal can be changing constantly creating a challenge for the sustainability professional.
Besides implementing the roles you also need to set goals. Settings goals will making it easier to achieve goals as an example sustainable developments goals. You need goals to accomplish the shift to a more sustainable and circular economy.
Setting goals is an important pillar to create change. What kind of goals are the biggest motivators of change?
It is important that goals are common goals and that people work together to achieve these goals. To maximize success sustainable senior management should also be involved and together you should strive to achieve your goals. When setting goals it is important that this is done in collaboration with your senior management, so that they are also involved in the process. Carola stresses that it is all about the process.
What is the book written by Carola about?
The book contains practical examples from experts and professionals about sustainable success around the world and therefore different cultural aspects of an organization. Each chapter describes one role. It start with a part of theory then the practical part with the lessons learned, successes achieved, tips and it ends with an connection about the roles in Carola her own experience at NS. The second part of the book is actually quite interesting as well because it is about balancing the roles. You can imagine that some roles are more important than others in different context. The last part of the book is about the eight competences you also need to fulfil those seven roles. This part Carola also talks about things like jobs classifications.
Why did Carola Wijdoogen write her book?
In her book Carola describes seven roles of sustainable success. Although it started with , Chief Sustainability Officers and Corporate Social Responsibility manager are here to stay. Carola thinks learning from each other and training are necessary to develop skills. To achieve the SDGs more companies must accelerate sustainability, more skilled Chief Sustainability Officers have to be appointed and other business professionals have to join the (sustainability) party.
There is a lot of talk right now about systems change, and for good reason: With so many people experiencing the effects of several major crises — the pandemic, the recession, racism and the ongoing climate crisis — we have a narrow window of opportunity for change. As they say, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.
The transitions we're currently experiencing are of such magnitude that "business as usual" is no longer an option. The Covid-19 outbreak dramatically exposes the vulnerability of our vital systems and magnifies the vulnerability of vulnerable individuals in our societies.
A fully circular economy concerns all companies and sectors in the world. Jobs will change in the specific CE sectors, but also in sectors where most companies and employers are still at the beginning of the transition to the circular economy. The circular economy requires a fundamental shift in the mindset and skills of the workforce. In fact, a successful transition to a sustainable, circular economy depends on the skills and competences that are available, but also the skills and competences that are required in a circular labor market.