‘Small Actions, Big Difference’ → CB Bhattacharya: A Three-Phase Formula for the Path to Corporate Sustainability

CB Bhattacharya

is the H.J. Zoffer Chair in Sustainability and Ethics at the University of Pittsburgh.  Previously he was the Everett W. Lord Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Marketing at the School of Management at Boston University. CB received his PhD in Marketing from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1993 and his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in 1984. Before joining Boston University, he was on the faculty at the Goizueta Business School, Emory University.

In this episode, the following topics are discussed: 

  • University of Pittsburg’s Center for sustainable business to bridge academia and the private sector
  • Sustainability generalist — positional the role within an organization
  • Thought leadership — or curating meetings within companies to find linkages — such as the link between HR and sustainability
  • Sustainability and marketing, investor relations, and procurement
  • Creating sustainability ambassadors within and organization — taking ownership of sustainability
  • Employees are yearning to find a sense of meaning
  • Three phase path to sustainability ownership: incubate is when the CEO and executive team comes together finds common ground regarding sustainability, to entice employees or get them engaged with sustainability initiatives, and entrench means acting in a sustainable way becomes routine.
  • Reporting progress is important as a means to inspire employees
  • Employees must be empowered through training: incentives, promotions, fulfillment, celebration
  • A company’s purpose is almost always linked to sustainability
  • Expanding ownership means it is not “our company”, instead it is “our planet”.
  • When an organization has a sense of purpose, it comes to life
  • Marks and Spencer documents sustainability knowledge
  • Culture and strategy must work in tandem
    Intent without the ability to mobilize employees makes it difficulty to make sustainability goals succeed
  • Many people want to work for a higher purpose, not solely financial
  • Shared understanding of the meaning of sustainability is important for each person in the organization
  • Goals must be clearly defined and articulated
  • Sustainability must engage all parts of an organization
  • Unilever is the third most looked up company on LinkedIn after Google and Apple — Unilever is also a sustainability leader


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