Part 1 of the Sustainable Leaders’ Series on the Sustainable Leadership Model

The transition to an inclusive net-zero economy requires leadership. As global sustainability challenges are growing, leadership has to adapt to a new context. The Sustainable Leadership Model, developed by CEC European Managers and its project partners, offers an evidence-based methodology for leaders to drive innovative change for people, planet and prosperity. Centred around the needs of managers and their teams, this transition playbook offers a pragmatic, yet systemic, approach to succeed in the sustainable transformation of businesses, business ecosystems and organisations.

Today, managers and leaders face a large gap between sustainability ambition and reality on the ground. As evidenced by the “Sustainable Leadership in Europe“ study, conducted under Professor Alberto Pastore (Sapienza University Rome), context understanding is one of the key competences managers need to align business impact to planetary boundaries and social needs. Furthermore, strong sustainable values, leadership know-how and personal practice are required to transition towards deeply sustainable busines models, products and services.

Sustainable Leadership requires professional standards

Why a new model on Sustainable Leadership?

The degradation of ecosystems, global warming, social polarization and economic paralysis are key challenges that businesses and policy makers have to take account of. Furthermore, leaders are challenged to adapt and innovate in a VUCA* world. That’s why also leadership has to adapt to a new context. Unfortunately today, as the “Sustainable Leadership in Europe” study shows, only a minority of managers is prepared for the transition.

What does the model consist of?

The Sustainable Leadership Model is based on high professional standards in leadership and management. It builds on good governance principles existing in today’s management. These principles are a prerequisite for evolving to a Sustainable Leadership Model. The model offers a comprehensive understanding of leadership adapted to sustainability challenges. The 5 dimensions of Sustainable Leadership give an overview on the essential aspects that a transition journey has for leaders and their organisations.

The 5 dimensions of Sustainable Leadership, Sustainable Leadership Model

Learn more about the 5 dimensions in this this video clip, presented by Gabriela Buettner, senior consultant at CEC’s leadership development partners New Angles.

How can leaders put it in practice?

The Sustainable Leadership Model can be understood as a playbook for inspiring and sustaining positive impact on ecological, social and economic systems. In the framework of its Sustainable Leadership Project, co-funded by the European Union, CEC European Managers is piloting the methodology to put Sustainable Leadership in practice. Under the Sustainable Leaders brand, CEC provides Sustainable Leadership trainings, Sustainable Leadership tools, advice on Sustainable Leadership, advocacy on Sustainable Leadership, communication on Sustainable Leadership and stakeholder engagement for Sustainable Leadership. These action areas contribute to mainstreaming methodological practices to transition to a deeply Sustainable Leadership Model.

The Sustainable Leadership methodology involves following practices:

• Gaining personal knowledge on systemic sustainability challenges

• Cultivating sustainable personal and professional practices

• Establishing communities of Sustainable Leadership practice

• Participating in Sustainable Leadership trainings

• Engaging in networks and partnerships around Sustainable Leadership

• Fostering social and environmental dialogue, both internally and externally

Leaders in public and private sector management, training providers and other type of transition supporters (coaches, facilitators or mentors) may now contact CEC European Managers about using the Sustainable Leadership Model. CEC European Managers provides support in applying the Model and can give access to support resources for selected partners, upon request. This involves the opportunity to get in touch with selected Sustainable Leaders Ambassadors. Through this train-the-trainer approach that Sustainable Leaders follows, higher quality standards and leveraged impact are expected.

More information on Sustainable Leadership

Sustainable Leaders’ Summit – final conference on 26 November

Sustainable Leaders Website

Sustainable Leadership in Europe study

Sustainable Leaders video clips

*VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous