C-Suite leadership on equity within sustainability

  • January 19, 2021
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  • Amy Fredregill and Peter Frosch

For many, the urgency began after George Floyd’s killing. For others, May 2020 was another month in a long process of defining the relationship between racial equity and environmental sustainability. For all, a commitment to transparency and action based upon this relationship is a must to change organizational culture and outcomes.  

The Sustainable Growth Coalition and GREATER MSP recently co-hosted a C-Suite roundtable, sponsored by Best Buy, for leaders to discuss how we define this moment in business, environmental, and social historyAdditionally, the conversation was designed to hear from leaders about creating powerful collaborations for positive impact. At the heart of the matter, we know seeing the relationship and complementary solutions of equity and sustainability is often difficult.   

The conversation was framed around three timely questions: 

  • What are the specific sustainability and equity challenges you are facing going into 2021?  
  • What can large companies do to more effectively connect equity and sustainability goals?  
  • What ideas for collaboration related to advancing sustainability and equity have emerged as a result of this conversation?  

 During the conversation, a handful of themes emerged: 

  • The Gen Z/Millennial talent pool is deep and expects employers to lead on the climate and equity. 
  • Executive sponsorship is required in order to prioritize and integrate sustainability and equity within all systems of an organization.  
  • Organizations are expected to be transparent about actions and outcomes for both racial equity and environmental sustainability 
  • Strength for all results from empowering the most marginalized people within a community and an organization benefits all.
  • Persistencepurpose, and partnership are essential for success. 

We will take time to digest the wisdom offered within the C-Suite Roundtable before framing the next steps for collective action. Minnesota is in the spotlight as a result of the killing of George Floyd and the calls for racial justice that followed. The world is watching forour response.  In 2021, our community’s corporate leaders have the opportunity totransform tragedy into lasting and positive change for the Minneapolis-Saint Paul regionand set an example for the nation to follow.