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The 8 Responsibilities of 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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