Many companies throughout the UK have a single person assigned within a sustainable role, and these usually carry the job title of sustainability officer. Sustainability officers are put into place to help an organisation to become more sustainable by introducing principles that will reduce their environmental impact and increase their sustainability.
The latest report carried out by Boyden UK & Ireland, titled ‘Sustainability Appointments in Industry: Approaches to leadership and governance’, goes into detail on how companies are increasing their sustainability within their company strategies.
Through the analysis of 60 industrial companies, within the FTSE 250, they found that just over 90% (55) of these companies had a sustainability officer assigned. This at face-value appears to be a positivity for sustainability, however, Boyden’s research has shown that only 36% of these 55 sustainability officers work entirely on the sustainability of a company, whereas 49% also worked in other areas of the business.
This means that for the majority of these sustainability officers, sustainability is only a part of their day-to-day role. Meaning there is the potential for sustainable principles to be pushed to the side if their other role takes priority.
Further investigation from Boyden has shown that the importance of a sustainability officer’s role has increased, as 80% of those reported on were directly talking to their company’s board members.
As the impacts of climate change increase, the role of these sustainability officers within organisations will become increasingly important. Therefore, those without need to put sustainability officers in place, and those that do need to make sure that they are increasing their sustainability teams and widening their skillsets.