Why do the world's major companies need Chief Sustainability Officers?
WHAT'S THE ISSUE?
A Chief Sustainability Officer is becoming an increasingly vital member of staff for the world's major companies.
But what exactly is their role? And, while multinational corporations can afford to have one – how does sustainability fit into smaller, more local businesses.
Allan Xie An, Deloitte China's Climate and Sustainability Service Leader, joins The Agenda to explain the growth of the CSO in China.
MEET THE EXPERT
Allan Xie An is Deloitte China's Climate and Sustainability Service Leader.
He also functions as the company's Northern Region Deputy Managing Partner as well as a Leading Partner for Risk Advisory Clients and industries.
WHAT DOES XIE SAY?
"This concept (a Chief Sustainability Officer) is relatively new in China, but actually... we can see that more and more big companies, especially financial institutions, they are appointing a CSO as part of their management."
Xie goes on to explain why he thinks that is. "First it's the expectation of external shareholders. If their expectation is very high, the current management structure cannot meet that expectation. So the organization may need a CSO to play that kind of role, to coordinate internally and externally. And the other reason is that the fast-changing external regulations all over the world, including in China, we have seen more and more new regulations announced so organizations need this role to integrate such kinds of external requirements."
But, he says, in China as a whole, and indeed across the world, the focus on sustainability very much depends on the size of the company: "I can say that for the more mature and the bigger companies, they are more focused on the improvement of their social responsibility, climate change etc. But for smaller companies… their focus is on how to survive, how to make more money globally."
ALSO ON THE AGENDA:
- Bayer International's Senior Vice-President for Public Affairs, Science and Sustainability, Matthias Berninger, joins Stephen Cole to explain how the company has gone from the world's biggest polluter to outside the top 250 in just over ten years.
- British Airways' Head of Sustainability, Carrie Harris, tells The Agenda how her company – the first airline to report its carbon emissions back in 1992 – is leading the way towards greener travel.
- Georgina Grenon, Director of Sustainability for Paris 2024 tells us why the Games in three years' time will be first ever climate positive Olympics.