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The 8 Responsibilities of the Chief Sustainability Officers

In recent years, an increasing number of companies have appointed a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO). But like all new roles in corporations, the officer’s actual responsibilities and tasks are still quite vague. So, let’s clear the fog… because clarity matters.

Sustainability is defining the age in which we live. The number of companies appointing a chief sustainability officer (CSO) is rising rapidly. However, we still see a lack of clarity about a CSO’s tasks and accountabilities. The result is fragmented ownership, internal competition for visibility and resources, and inefficiency with a great deal of overlap and duplication. The confusion is not surprising. While other functions and roles, such as the CFO or CMO, are well established, the CSO role was virtually unheard of until recently.

Capgemini Invent’s Management Lab has conducted extensive research coupled with direct experience with numerous clients to get more clarity on the CSO’s responsibilities. Their work was recently published in an article in the Harvard Business Review: The 8 Responsibilities of Chief Sustainability Officers.

Plotting the CSO’s eight tasks — and the amount of effort spent on each — on a spider graph can help executives figure out the actual coverage of responsibilities, where the current focus is, where there may be a need to increase efforts, where gaps are and a desired future positioning (see in the picture below an example of spider graph).

For more information on the adopted methodology and use cases, we invite you to read our article: The 8 Responsibilities of Chief Sustainability Officers. If you have any questions or are interested in how we can support you in adopting this methodology for your company, please reach out to us via the form below.

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Meet our experts

Elisa Farri

Vice President | Co-lead of The Management Lab by Capgemini Invent
Elisa Farri is an author, advisor, and former researcher at the Harvard Business School Europe Research Center. She nurtures relationships with management thinkers at the world’s top business schools. She is a member of the Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2023 and co-lead of The Management Lab by Capgemini Invent, a global think-tank that aims to democratize management and bridge the latest management ideas into practice.

Paolo Cervini

Vice President | Co-lead of The Management Lab by Capgemini Invent

Gabriele Rosani

Director of Content & Research, The Management Lab by Capgemini Invent
Gabriele Rosani works at the intersection of strategy, innovation, and sustainability. For over a decade he has been researching, designing, and testing new management frameworks and tools, collecting lessons learned and best practice cases. He is a regular contributor to leading management magazines: He also contributed to several management books curated by Thinkers50 and the Business Ecosystem Alliance