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Sustainable Leadership for the Technology Function

sustainable leadership Play

We have never needed sustainable leadership more from people not typically in the green sectors. How can the technology function lead here?

What can CIOs and technology leaders do to ensure the sustainability of their businesses—and the planet?

Sustainable leadership is now vital. As the climate crisis worsens and businesses from all sectors embrace necessary change to ensure the survival of not only their revenue streams, but also our entire way of life, we are privileged to hear expert insight from those at the forefront to make sure their companies’ impact is sustainable.

 

What is sustainable leadership?

Business sustainability management is when leaders manage companies with environmental impact, societal implications and long-term sustainable targets as their primary concerns, otherwise known as the triple bottom line, or PPP: people, planet, profit.

The roundtable debate between Colin Seward, CIO, Cisco; Alison Davis, CIO, GE Healthcare; Rachel Scully, Geoscience Technology Leader, Shell; Adrian Samareanu, CDO & Group SVP, Volvo FS; Kaveh Pourteymour, CIO, Neptune Energy; Antoinetta Mastroianni, Chief Digital & IT Officer, Proximus; and Kenielwe Gwabeni, CIO, Telkom, starts off with a discussion about spheres of influence—environmental leadership in their own particular roles—and how much remit there is for change. Sustainability is one of the few subjects where what can be done is still up for discussion.

This roundtable on sustainable leadership features experts from a diverse range of leading companies comparing and contrasting their insights and opinions. Moderator Peter Stojanovic asks the panel to discuss what their teams are doing, how they are demanding change and how they’re assessing the resources and partnerships present, in terms of maintaining a sustainable business in the context of purpose and the environment.

 

Strategy and structure

Antionetta Mastroianni explained that business sustainability management was one of four core pillars in Proximus’ Inspire 2022 strategy: “It’s very important to have the right structure in place, focused around sustainability, rather than treating it as a separate topic. The subject of sustainability is present in everything we do as a company, every new project.”

Kenielwe Gwabeni, CIO of Telekom, warns of “… companies who have failed to make themselves relevant and reinvent themselves as the world changes, as the customer landscape changes …” explaining that ensuring sustainability from the business perspective incorporates utilising digital information and partnerships from outside traditionally common industries as a tool.

Kaveh Pourteymour, CIO of Neptune Energy, agrees, stating: “It all starts with business strategy. Like having clear goals around efficiency and safety, sustainability is also a goal for any organisation, and particularly it’s very relevant to the oil and gas industry.”

 

Technological advancements

Another universally agreed upon fact within sustainable leadership is the essential role technology will play in the leadership and sustainability debate.

Rachel Scully explains that, with the initial point around decarbonization, her role is in the upstream, developing technology for geologists and geophysicists as they look at the energy transition. She points out that a lot of geoscientists are looking into ways of repurposing their skillset, whether that be in the digital space or in areas like carbon capture storage, so those subsurface skills are still more than pertinent, but just in a different place.

The standout quote came from Alison Davies, CIO, GE Healthcare, who explained that we have to eat our own dog food: “… there’s a planetary emergency… we’ve got to be whiter than white. We have to look at things like the shop; if you are going to buy a stuffed toy stegosaurus, it is no longer filled with unfriendly stuffing—it’s actually a biodegradable plush.”

This roundtable on sustainable leadership is in partnership with Cisco.

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