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Survey: Sustainability directors need more money, muscle

200514612-001Sustainability directors might now have a place in many businesses, but their positions often aren’t backed by adequate funding or influence, according to a new survey by Green Business Events.

While only 17 per cent of sustainability leads surveyed after a networking event last month said they believed the recession has had a negative impact on their company’s commitment to sustainability (in terms of budgets, scale of commitment and cultural realisation), more than 70 per cent said they needed more funds and/or influence.

Whilst big business is becoming increasingly aware of the meaning of sustainability and scale of change required, both the newness of the agenda and strategic confusion about who should oversee that agenda has left environmental/sustainability managers without the money and muscle they need, the survey found.

If this does not change, many companies are going to struggle to grasp the fundamentals, according to Green Business Events. More worryingly, for a number of companies, the failure to identify the strategic weaknesses associated with high carbon intensity and the immediate environmental impacts could be catastrophic. Addressing such problems will be the focus of Green Strategy 2009, Green Business Events’ main annual gathering. The event is aimed at helping sustainability leads win more support from across the business (particularly at the board level, but also from operation and sales and marketing). The programme will also focus on how to help businesses gain from the sustainability agenda and avoid the many strategic potholes that lie in wait for those who fail to act.

Now in its third year, the Green Strategy event is set for 19 November at The River Room, Millbank Tower in London. The programme will feature speaker Roger Harrabin, environment analyst at the BBC, as well as panel discussions on sustainability leads, strategy and operations.

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