As 2013 comes to a close, we asked members of the GreenBiz Executive Network, our member-based, peer-to-peer learning forum for sustainability professionals, to reflect on the past year and look at what lies ahead.
They obliged by telling us about their accomplishments this year and also how their jobs have continued to change. When it comes to job changes, several report significant promotions. The biggest theme is how they are working both within their companies and across their supply chains to make a significant impact.
Here's what they said when we asked: How has your job changed in the past year?
Bob Langert, corporate VP, CSR/sustainability, McDonald's Corporation
There's been a big change for me as my work shifted from something good to do to something that is also viewed by our C-suite as necessary for the growth of our business.
Michelle Yates, director corporate responsibility, Adobe; and executive director, Adobe Foundation
At Adobe, 2013 has been a very good year for sustainability. Over the summer, Vince Digneo joined my Corporate Responsibility team as Adobe's first sustainability strategist. This has given Adobe the opportunity to assess all of our sustainability successes and set some meaningful goals.
Dave Stangis, vice president public affairs and corporate responsibility, Campbell Soup Company
For those of us who have been involved with sustainability and CSR for many years, an important part of our job is now critical thinking, advancement and execution of employee and talent pipeline development. We spend many hours with our direct and matrix staff as well as students and transitioning professionals, mentoring and advising the next generation of leaders. There are some big gaps in terms of technical competencies, but the leaders of tomorrow's sustainability agenda are much better communicators and storytellers.
John Schulz, AVP of sustainability operations, AT&T
This year, I was promoted to AVP of Sustainability Operations, a role in which I oversee how we engage internal and external stakeholders in our environmental and social sustainability endeavors. In my new position, I'm working with the team to think even more strategically about where we want to be as a company in the future. It's about being focused and complete at the same time. Complete in the sense that we must be sure to attend to all critical issues, and focused in our need to make progress related to the issues and opportunities that truly can have lasting positive impacts on our communities and company.
Deborah Hecker, vice president, sustainability and corporate social responsibility, Sodexo
We added a new senior director for wellness to the sustainability team to focus on leveraging our sustainability and CSR strategy to drive greater results for public health and promote wellness at the sites we serve. We already have a significant focus on wellness, including being the largest private employer of registered dieticians and offering many health and wellness solutions to our clients and consumers. But with this new approach, we expect to expand company-wide coordination on wellness initiatives across all the markets we serve, including universities, hospitals, corporations, government operations and schools.
Bruno Sarda, director, sustainability operations, Dell
Responsibilities have not changed so much, but have definitely experienced an upswing in interest from corporate and public customers in matters of sustainability as they look to their own supply chains, including what role their suppliers can/need to play in helping them achieve their own sustainability goals. In addition, there has been a strong increase in noise and activity level surrounding conflict minerals issues.
Amy Skoczlas Cole, vice president of corporate citizenship, Pentair
In May 2013, I joined Pentair as the organization's first vice president of corporate citizenship. I'm excited to continue to build on Pentair's rich history of strategic partnerships and innovative approaches to address global water-food-energy nexus challenges at scale. I'm also looking forward to leading our community engagement efforts and to the continuous improvement of the environmental footprint of our operations and products in ways that add value to our customers and communities.
Mike Lynch, vice president, green innovation, NASCAR
I was recently promoted to vice president, green innovation at NASCAR. My promotion from managing director to VP reaffirms NASCAR's commitment to aggressively continue to grow the sport's green platform. Since 2008, I've been working to drive the mass adoption and acceptance of sustainable practices by our green-conscious fans; the steadfast involvement of the industry; and the strong and unwavering support from a range of official NASCAR partners. Thanks to these key stakeholders, we've been able to make substantive changes to our operations and business practices and expand the reach and scope of the platform.
Kim Marotta, director of sustainability, MillerCoors
Our sustainability efforts have continued to expand throughout our supply chain — from our breweries to the barley fields. In 2013, we achieved landfill-free status at our fifth and six breweries (out of eight), and we continued to expand our water conservation efforts with our barley growers in Idaho and Colorado — saving more than 270 million gallons of water on our Showcase Barley farm in Silver Creek, Idaho.
Work desk photo by DwaFotografy via Shutterstock