Leading Women Awards 2024: Outstanding female leaders recognized for sustainability achievements at WBCSD Liaison Delegate Meeting

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25 April, 2024




Montreux, 25 April 2024: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has announced the five exceptional women who have received the prestigious Leading Women Awards (LWA) for 2024. The awards ceremony took place during WBCSD’s annual Liaison Delegate Meeting in Montreux, Switzerland.  

The recipients of the 2024 Leading Women Awards are:  

  • Beth Holland, Chief Sustainability Officer at Aptar 
  • Elim Sritaba, Chief Sustainability Officer at APP Group 
  • María Malaxechevarría, Head of Sustainability and Managing Director of Endesa Foundation at Endesa, Enel Group
  • Nollaig Forrest, Chief Sustainability Officer at Holcim 
  • Rachel Muller Galvão, Zone Latam – VP South America ​at Nestlé 

Since its launch in 2017, the LWA program has showcased the outstanding leadership of women in embedding sustainability in their company’s strategy. By shedding light on their achievements, the program aims to recognize and empower women as a force for good within their companies and organizations. The five recipients will receive a bursary to cover their tuition expenses for the 2024 Leap Program, which is conducted in partnership with Yale University, ESADE Business School, and the National University of Singapore.  

Learn more about this year’s winners below: 

Beth Holland, Chief Sustainability Officer at Aptar

Beth leads Aptar’s sustainability achievements, notably certifying 65% of sites as landfill-free and sourcing 97% renewable energy by year-end 2022. Under Beth’s leadership, Aptar received a platinum rating from EcoVadis and recognition from Newsweek and other media organizations for its leadership in corporate responsibility. Beth fosters growth opportunities for high-potential individuals and has created and supported various organizations from employee resource groups in support of LGBTQ+ to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy, and mentors families of newly diagnosed Type One Diabetic children. 

What has been your experience as a woman leading change in corporate sustainability?  
Leading change is never easy, and unfortunately, unconscious biases make it even more challenging for women and minority groups to enact change. I have the fortunate position to work at a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. Aptar’s global presence helped me see the need to develop a global sustainability network. We share best practices, work through cultural challenges and regulations, and set ambitious goals to further our sustainability progress. I encourage everyone on my team – regardless of their gender identity – to lean in and stand up for what is right, for the company and the environment. Today, we are recognized as a leader in sustainability and the world’s leading brands turn to us because we run our company in a sustainable manner. 

What does receiving the Leading Women Award mean to you?  
All of us are bestowed blessings, and it’s our responsibility to use those for the greater good. While we may never know how far our influence reaches, ambiguity and lack of recognition should not ever halt progress. I’m truly honored to be a recipient of the WBCSD Leading Women Award. It is a testament to the continued progress and accomplishments made possible by my ever-growing tribe of mentors, allies, teammates and champions, both internal and external to Aptar, who generously pour into me. I believe this recognition will enhance the influence of my fellow recipients and me as we humbly strive toward our greater purpose. We must continue to lift each other up and leverage our strengths to make a meaningful difference at our companies, in our communities and for our world.  

Elim Sritaba, Chief Sustainability Officer at APP Group 

Under Elim’s leadership, APP’s sustainability initiatives have received the Proklim Award from Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Initiatives include the DMPA Program, providing alternative livelihoods to over 80,000 people across 421 villages. Elim created a women’s empowerment program to support 135 women-led businesses, which has since evolved into an annual incubation program for women entrepreneurs. Thanks to Elim’s stewardship, 26% of APP’s leadership roles are now held by women and APP has received high PRISMA ratings from Indonesia’s Ministry of Law and Human Rights. 

What has been your experience as a woman leading change in corporate sustainability?  
My experience as a woman leading change in corporate sustainability has been incredibly rewarding. By championing diversity, equity, and inclusion, I’ve fostered a workplace where all voices are heard, driving impactful initiatives like the Desa Makmur Peduli Api Program. Empowering women in leadership positions and prioritizing gender equality have been central to our sustainability efforts, creating a more inclusive and impactful corporate culture. 

What does receiving the Leading Women Award mean to you?  
Receiving the Leading Women Award is a profound honour that reaffirms the importance of my commitment to driving positive change. I believe this award could support me to strengthen my capacity as a leader to continue driving the transformation and efforts in continuing to invest in promoting gender equality, fostering inclusive workplaces, and advancing sustainability. It’s a testament to the collective dedication of our team and partners in creating a more equitable and sustainable future. 

María Malaxechevarría, Head of Sustainability and Managing Director of Endesa Foundation at Endesa, Enel Group

María leads the sustainability area at Endesa, a committed company with the just transition amid coal plant closures, with 90% of capex aimed at climate action. Endesa’s just transition project in Andorra was recognized by the COP28 Energy Transition Changemakers initiative. Under María’s leadership, Endesa was the only successful bidder of the first just transition tender in Spain, playing a key role that no one is left behind in incorporating the engagement of local communities. María champions DEI, mentors women in STEM, and has led SDG-focused programs that have touched the lives of over 100,000 people.   

What has been your experience as a woman leading change in corporate sustainability?  
In my leadership roles at Endesa, whether in Corporate Strategy or Planning & Control, I’ve prioritized supporting women’s development, emphasizing strategic vision and execution. Now, as Head of Sustainability and Endesa Foundation Managing Director, I enact tangible change by integrating sustainability into corporate decisions. My journey as a woman driving corporate sustainability has been fulfilling, shaping a more equitable future for both Endesa and the women I collaborate with. Together, we advance Sustainable Development Goal 5, fostering empowerment and equality while forging a path towards a sustainable tomorrow. 

What does receiving the Leading Women Award mean to you?  
I am deeply honored to receive this award, which reflects the collective efforts of the women of Enel&Endesa in their work toward a sustainable future through a just energy transition. My lifelong mission has been to serve as a beacon of inspiration, particularly as a woman. I am grateful to the WBCSD for its dedication to achieving gender equality.  

Nollaig Forrest, Chief Sustainability Officer at Holcim 

Nollaig has led Holcim’s activity across all SDGs. She partnered with Bloomberg to create the Circular Cities Hub, and with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to publish an urban mining toolkit for circular building materials. Under Nollaig’s leadership, Holcim has committed to 8 million tons of net-zero cement per annum by 2030 with strong nature strategy targets. She has launched Holcim’s campaigns and brands for circularity and climate, supported various women and youth empowerment initiatives, and is a board member of the MIT Climate & Sustainability Consortium.    

What has been your experience as a woman leading change in corporate sustainability?  
Leading the charge in Sustainability is opening up a new era of leadership based on deep partnership, to scale up impact. On our mission to decarbonize building and accelerate the shift to a more circular and regenerative built environment at Holcim we are engaging across the entire value chain from public authorities and architects to urban planners and builders to make a bigger impact together. It’s an inclusive, holistic and systems-based approach that puts partnership at the core of leadership. As a woman leader this is leadership attribute I deeply embrace. 
What does receiving the Leading Women Award mean to you?  
Big thanks to WBCSD for putting the spotlight on sustainability leadership. It’s a great platform to showcase what’s possible and a call to action for all of us to keep on raising the bar. Sustainability is everyone’s job at Holcim. For me, this award goes to all our teams around the world who are making sustainable building possible for all with our advanced low carbon, circular and energy-efficient solutions. We take great inspiration from this award, as a catalyst and invitation to keep on leading the charge towards a more regenerative built environment. 

Rachel Muller Galvão, Zone Latam – VP South America ​at Nestlé 

Under Rachel’s leadership, Nestlé Brazil Coffee Business Unit transitioned from 37% to 100% responsibly sourced coffee within 2 years. Sourcing 100% certified coffee has supported Nestlé’s ambitions to convert suppliers into regenerative farms with low carbon production and high biodiversity. Rachel enabled Nestlé to create its first social coffee with profits going to young farmers transforming the coffee chain, its first carbon neutral coffee at scale in Brazil, and enabled Brazil to be the first market in the world to launch a paper coffee capsule.  

What has been your experience as a woman leading change in corporate sustainability?  
To lead in sustainability, you need to live it, deeply believe in it, in your personal and professional life. Sustainability leaders do need a more comprehensive view, a stronger sense of caring, a sounder awareness of our individual and collective impact. When those characteristics are combined with solid consumer understanding and a strong business sense it becomes really powerful. We don’t need to wait for perfect solutions to our sustainability challenges. I’m a believer in the impact of everyday choices and in the power of each step towards the future we want to build. 

What does receiving the Leading Women Award mean to you?  
Beyond being a recognition of the importance of those daily efforts to create a more sustainable planet and to positively impact people’s life, this award encourages me to keep searching relentlessly for that intersection where business and sustainable objectives can evolve together, to expand the metrics, and strive every day to make a difference.