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What Really Goes On When Boards Talk Sustainability

Christoph Lueneburger, head of the sustainability practice at Egon Zehnder, the executive search and strategy company, says that boards and executives are all talking about the issues that make up the sustainability conversation, “even if they’re not using the word ';sustainability’.” The most advanced CEOs have an intuitive understanding that their companies are part of a larger context, and embrace the responsibility that implies.
Before joining Egon Zehnder, Lueneburger ran a fund focused on water investments. He became interested in how sustainability is becoming a corporate theme, embedded in the way businesses make strategic decisions. Egon Zehnder supports board development, and it made sense to begin a sustainability practice, since sustainability requires a board-level dialogue.
Lueneburger spoke with MIT Sloan Management Review’s Michael S. Hopkins about what he’s learned after reviewing 25,000 assessments of leaders, and why the smartest executives are now searching out “horse whisperers,” people who will send them signals about how their businesses are really being received.

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