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The emerging CSO

A fascinating piece in the New York Times today highlights the emergence of a new member of the C-suite: the Chief Sustainability Officer, or CSO.

Interestingly, this role is only partly about making business more ‘sustainable’ – a function that will vary widely across industries and geographies – but more importantly about figuring out how to profit from the big green bang…

Now, the so-called C-Level Suite is swelling again — this time, with chief sustainability officers. These are not simply environmental watchdogs, there to keep operations safe and regulators at bay. The new environmental chiefs are helping companies profit from the push to go green.

“Environmental vice presidents usually spend company money, but this new breed is helping companies make money,” said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The upshot, said Geoffrey Heal, a business professor at the Columbia Business School, is that “what started out as a compliance job has evolved into one that guards the value of the brand.”

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