Joe Monfort is a Sustainability Manager at DuPont where he works on corporate sustainability strategy, stakeholder engagement, and communications.  From 2012 to 2015, he worked with UPS in a similar capacity.  From 2003 to 2010, he was based in Washington, DC where he worked for a management consulting firm serving the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office as well as for a socially responsible investment firm.  His hodgepodge background also includes stints on Capitol Hill (U.S.), in government affairs, teaching, as an independent consultant, writing, and tramping around a forest collecting data on the impacts of elevated carbon dioxide levels on forest ecosystems.  He is a graduate of Duke University (BA) and The George Washington University (MBA).  

What were the reasons for joining the WBCSD Leadership Program?

“DuPont is in the process of a strategic merger with Dow Chemical that is intended to ultimately result in a separation into three independent, publicly traded companies through spin-offs. These will include a leading global pure-play Agriculture Company; a leading pure-play Materials Science Company; and a leading technology and innovation-driven Specialty Products Company.  As part of that process, each spin company will have the opportunity to develop new strategies, governance processes, and priorities in a range of areas, including sustainability.  This year’s WBCSD Leadership Program, which focuses on “Integrating strategic sustainability into business decision making”, has been the perfect external sounding board to help facilitate fresh thinking during this journey. “

Why you believe companies should send participants to the program?

“Sustainability can mean different things to different stakeholders.  The WBCSD Leadership Program helps participants navigate this complexity while also crystalizing what sustainability means for global businesses and why it must be foundational to their long-term success.  It’s adeptness at informing and inspiring leaders also shouldn’t be underestimated.  The expectations for business to engage beyond the immediate boundaries of their plants and offices has never been greater --- and the expectations will only increase.  Radical transparency, the demand and necessity for business to take a lead on issues like climate change, and stark environmental and social challenges that could undercut global economic growth all require leaders to do more, know more, and be more than ever before.  The WBCSD Leadership Program is one of the few efforts that understands this at a strategic, business-relevant level and equips participants with the perspective and tools to navigate these expectations.”

Has the program helped in achieving your objectives?

“Yes, learnings from the program have directly influenced the thinking on and development of strategies for 2 of the 3 intended spin-offs.”

Your personal comments on the program?

“Once you’re booted out of the cozy confines of academia and find yourself flapping about the professional world opportunities like the WBCSD Leadership Program are rare and should be seized with gusto.   You simply don’t often find yourself at world-class academic institutions and businesses all over the world with the explicit purpose of personal and professional development in the normal course of a career.  Just doesn’t happen.  And, it’s fun.  The people are brilliant, talented, and universally good looking.  The evening activities range from profound to social to toothsome, a credit to the care-to-detail of the organizers.  I am grateful to have been a part of the Program. “