In an era defined by unprecedented environmental challenges, the need for bold, innovative leadership in sustainability has never been more pressing. As we forge ahead into a future shaped by climate crisis and resource constraints, the imperative to empower women in sustainability leadership roles is both a moral and strategic imperative. Women bring unique perspectives, skills, and approaches to the table, which are indispensable in navigating the complexities of sustainable development.
This blog is dedicated to celebrating and advocating for the indispensable role of women in sustainability leadership. We will explore key facets such as entrepreneurship, green digital entrepreneurship, gender-smart investing, and the integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles. Through these lenses, we will shed light on the transformative potential of women leaders in driving forward sustainable practices and solutions.
All entrepreneurs are creative problem-solvers and innovators, looking for new ways to solve problems and create solutions of value that people need to solve their problems and give them benefits. Entrepreneurial competencies are the combination of knowledge, skills and attributes needed to do, or perform, tasks, activities or jobs successfully. Beyond knowledge and skills, competencies are also about having the attitudes, mindset and behaviours to produce positive outcomes and achieve success.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) defines entrepreneurship as: “…the ability to add value. It involves evaluating situations, organizing resources, creating and developing opportunities for adding value. This value might be a product, service, idea or a solution to address an issue or satisfy a need.”
Furthermore, the Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (European Commission) states that entrepreneurship is about the ability to ‘turn ideas into action’: “Entrepreneurship is when you act upon opportunities and ideas and transform them into value for others. The value that is created can be financial, cultural, or social”.
The Framework also describes an entrepreneur as: “…someone who identifies a problem, or unmet need, that they care about fixing and uses their skills, strengths, talents to create a solution.”
Green Digital Entrepreneurs
As green digital entrepreneurs, you are leading the way in bringing green economy solutions to tackle urgent problems. Whether you are starting up, or already well on your way in developing your solution, you will need to keep building your competencies to support your entrepreneurial journey. As a green digital entrepreneur, the purpose of your business is to provide solutions which enable monitoring, mitigation and/or adaptation.
As green digital entrepreneurs, you play a significant role in creating a green economy because of the value that your solutions create for everyone. Your mission is to create a green business that uses technology in a variety of ways through your processes, products and services, to reduce pollution, resource and energy usage and biodiversity loss. This requires innovation.
- Innovation: this is doing something new, or a change to an existing product, idea or specialist field.
- Radical innovation: this is an invention that completely changes or entirely replaces an existing way of doing business.
- Incremental innovation: this is a series of small improvements or upgrades made to existing products or services.
What is an ESG score and why do investors want to know about it?
Increasingly, investors want to know about your business’s Social Return on Investment (SROI) through a mechanism called ESG, which is public non-financial reporting about your business, that tells people about your sustainability efforts as a business.
Environment: How the business protects the environment by:
- Reducing emissions
- Reducing energy and resource consumption
- Reducing waste
Social: How the business manages the relationships with employees, suppliers, customers and the communities where it operates through:
- Diversity, equity and inclusion
- Talent management
- Employee satisfaction
Governance: How the business manages leadership, pay, internal controls and shareholders rights through:
- Accounting standards
- Corporate culture
- Executive compensation
Digital solutions are actively increasing efficiency and reducing emissions, but we need to make sure that digital technologies do not increase e-waste, consume more energy and increase GHG emissions.
An ESG score is a measurement of a business’s sustainability. It can be used by an investor to help them to make decisions about investing in you because the perception is that having a high ESG score can indicate that there is less risk. It can also be used by a business to help make decisions about how to continue greening processes, products and services.
In the rapidly evolving landscape of sustainability, women are proving to be not only pivotal actors but also indispensable visionaries. The realms of entrepreneurship, green digital enterprise, and innovative solutions are being redefined by the insightful contributions of women leaders. Their influence in gender-smart investing is reshaping financial landscapes, aligning capital flows with sustainable goals. Moreover, their advocacy for ESG principles is elevating corporate accountability and performance to new heights.
As we reflect on the journey towards a more sustainable future, it is imperative that we recognize and amplify the voices and contributions of women in leadership roles. By fostering an environment that nurtures their talents, supports their ambitions, and provides equal opportunities, we unlock a wellspring of creativity, resilience, and determination. Together, we can pave the way for a greener, more equitable future, where women stand at the forefront of sustainability leadership, steering us towards a world that thrives in harmony with nature. The time for this inclusive, transformative movement is now. Let us march forward, hand in hand, towards a future that leaves no one behind.