Sustainability and ESG

Sustainability and ESG affect all companies and industries. BackerSkeie considers all companies with sustainability as the main goal of their business operations to be sustainability and ESG companies.

However, sustainability is an important factor in many companies to achieve their strategies, goals, and visions. What is common in both categories is the importance of having the best leaders in the market.

Typical examples of sustainability companies are those working in renewables and on reuse, recycling, and the circular economy. Production and manufacturing industries, and logistics and heavy transport, are also important industries that must strive towards rapid, large-scale transition.

Challenges and opportunities

Companies focusing on sustainability have seen a huge growth in opportunities in recent years. More and more customers are requesting sustainable products and services. This is a clear trend in both the private and business market, where actual contributions to achieving a sustainable society are measured in connection with procurements.

At the same time, it takes time to change the market if society’s willingness to pay does not necessarily match the ambitions expressed. In the capital markets, there is a huge willingness to invest in sustainability companies and in other companies that put sustainability high on their agenda.

This means that for many, there is no longer a shortage of capital; the biggest shortage now lies in the necessary expertise and human resources to develop large-scale projects and businesses in a sustainable direction.

The EU Taxonomy is becoming an objective goal for financial investments. This will also demand more of all businesses when it comes to delivering on operational goals.

Carbon pricing is also likely to be an external factor that significantly affects the total costs for many companies.

Many sustainability companies will see strong growth over the coming years. Being a growth company of this magnitude gives rise to several challenges. One of the main challenges could be recruiting leaders who can support and drive the company’s continued growth.

This can be difficult for growth companies. Smaller companies in a growth phase may often want to recruit managers with experience from large corporations who have previously played a role in strong growth.

But how can you get a skilled manager from a large company to take on a leadership position in a much smaller company? That is where BackerSkeie’s expertise comes in.

Requirements for future leaders within sustainability and ESG?

The challenges and opportunities that sustainability and ESG represent also make requirements of the management’s expertise and qualities. Companies working in sustainability often have ambitious visions and long-term horizons.

It is therefore important that the management of these companies is equipped to break down long-term visions into concrete, operational strategies and goals that everyone in the company can base their work on. These long-term visions can also be difficult to deliver on, which is why the company’s management must be able to visualize and communicate where the company is headed and how results can be achieved along the way to ensure the right direction.

These companies also need leaders who understand market trends and how they impact business in general and their own company in particular. This knowledge must be combined with an understanding of the capital markets and how active efforts can be made to secure adequate capital for the company’s most important investments.

One of the most important factors, however, is leaders with the ability to build the organization for the future. It is crucial to secure a well-suited and forward-looking organization with the right specialists, and to land a management team that can guide the company safely into the next phase. The management must ensure that the organization and recruitment not only take account of current needs but also the company’s needs in the years ahead.

We also see that sustainability and ESG are characterized by close collaboration between the business sector, government, and research sector. It is essential to understand how these forces work together and affect the company.

Public authorities and public policy can both facilitate and create regulatory barriers. An example is the new EU Taxonomy, which will regulate what requirements must be met to be allowed to classify a company’s activities as sustainable, which will in turn be important to the capital markets.

Major public investments can also be initiated that include subsidies or public-private sector collaboration, providing great opportunities for businesses. Many sustainability companies also depend on new research and new technology and may therefore find research collaborations to be an important part of the company’s development.

Understanding how research and policy set the framework conditions and their impact on the company is therefore an obvious skill that future leaders in sustainability and ESG should possess.

Partnerships between industry players with complementary technology and skills will also play a key role going forwards and have already emerged in many contexts. The CEO and management team must therefore take a far more outward-looking approach than has previously been the case, as well as have legal expertise in different forms of constellations.

Read more about how BackerSkeie works with Executive Search here.

Why choose BackerSkeie for your board or executive recruitment?

Industry specific and functional competence: Through recruiting numbers of leaders to sustainability and ESG, our experienced consultants have accumulated considerable expertise in recruiting board members and executives to this industry.

Placement power and network: We have extensive experience in attracting the ideal candidates on relevant terms. Our brand has a strong reputation in the market, and we have a wide network of candidates and informants that we bring into each recruitment process.

Quality and experience: BackerSkeie has over 15 years of experience in the market, and has consequently established a robust and innovative methodology for recruiting leaders and board members to clients with high requirements. To deliver the best matched candidates, we have a thorough process and uses only certified tools. BackerSkeie has expertise in recruiting.


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