Chief sustainability officer

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The chief sustainability officer, sometimes known by other titles, is the corporate title of an executive position within a corporation that is in charge of the corporation's "environmental" programmes. Several companies have created such environmental manager positions in the 21st century to formalize their commitment to the environment.[1] Normally these responsibilities rest with the facility manager, who has provided cost effective resource and environmental control as part of the basic services necessary for the company to function. However, as sustainability initiatives have expanded beyond the facility — so has the importance of the position to what is now a C-level executive role.

As of 2005, nearly all of the 150 largest companies in the world had a sustainability officer with the rank of vice president or higher, and numerous MBA programs had incorporated sustainability training.[2] A 2011 study[3] found that the majority of top corporate sustainability executives are two degrees removed from their CEO in the corporate hierarchy, meaning that their boss reports to the CEO. Many major universities in the US have also appointed Chief Sustainability Officers or Sustainability Directors. For example The Pennsylvania State University was the first to appoint a CSO responsible for integrating sustainability in curriculum, research, operations, student engagement and community outreach. [4]

CSO's are often responsible for:


Alternative titles[edit]

Some alternate titles referring to the person in charge of sustainability are:

  • Director, VP, EVP, or SVP of Sustainability
  • Environmental policy manager
  • Director of environment, energy, & safety
  • Director of social & environmental responsibility
  • Chief officer of environment
  • Social & environmental sustainability manager
  • Chief of environmental health and safety
  • Certified sustainability administrator

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lianne R. Gourji (January–February 2008). "Adding Sustainability to the C-Suite". Corporate Board Member. Archived from the original on 2008-08-28.
  2. ^ Bob Willard (2005). The Next Sustainability Wave: Building Boardroom Buy-In. New Society Publishers. ISBN 0-86571-532-7.
  3. ^ Schatsky, David. "Annual Sustainability Executive Survey, 2012". Green Research. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  4. ^ {cite news|date=June 2017|title=Shrivastava named top sustainability officer, Sustainability Institute director|url=}

Further reading[edit]

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