The first day of the second Module (5–9 September 2022) of WBCSD’s Leadership Program felt like a natural continuation of the sustainability conversations, insights, and learnings we had a few months ago in Module 1.
Together with the 38 business leaders of this year’s Leadership Program cohort, we met again, this time in picturesque New Haven and the always impressive city of New York. We continued to learn how to apply sustainability in our organizations with colleagues, clients, suppliers, investors and other stakeholders, as well as in the activities we carry out as part of our daily work.
During the second module, participants raised tough questions, those we need to ask ourselves to truly mainstream sustainability into our work, for example: How can we lead or implement a sustainability strategy in our companies? How can we engage the other areas of our companies in sustainability?
After this module, I understand that any answer to these complex questions will surely include a mix of innovation, leadership and ethical influencing strategies to develop simple, unique and focused solutions for complex global problems
In the first three days of the week at Yale University, we discussed with renowned academics and professionals on various topics such as values, ethics, risk management, effective communication, connected leadership, influence and innovation in complex systems. We also discussed reporting frameworks, standards and tools to communicate the performance and the impact of organizations in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.
We enjoyed meeting with business experts in New York during the last two days on social innovation and impact. We visited the United Nations and discussed with a UN representative the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sharing good practices.
We took advantage of most of the time to work on our team projects. And, in what I consider one of the best activities so far, we closed the week with an insightful team activity on essential personal skills that a sustainable leader must embody. This exercise left us with great lessons to take back to work, such as taking advantage of personal skills to deliver efficient results and working under a shared purpose that allows generating value for all.
Like the previous one, Module 2 was an intense and very thoughtful week, which we enjoyed with other sustainable leaders sharing a common belief: everyone needs to be a leader in sustainability.
A constant I have heard since the first day of this program is that the reality we live in demands to be sustainable more than ever. We as leaders have a great responsibility to make decisions aimed at the balanced management of ESG issues since their impact is increasingly evident and there is an urgency to act now to ensure we don’t pass on these issues to future generations.
I look forward to meeting again with my colleagues at the last Module in Japan and seeing what impact we can make as leaders.
Rebeca de la Torre
Leadership Program Participant Class of 2022, Sustainability Manager – KPMG Mexico