This guidebook is based on a multi-year research project we undertook to explore: 'Why and how do privileged insiders become agents of change, challenging institutions for broader societal benefit?' We share what we have learned about the process of becoming an agent of change, incorporating the experiences of the change agents we interviewed in their own words. We hope that this guide helps you to reflect on your own journey of change.
How can you prepare yourself to be a more effective sustainability change agent? This guide was designed to share insights on how change agents can support their CEO and influence thinking on sustainability. It is based on a review of prior academic research on CEO decision-making and combined with the practical experiences and insights gleaned from interviews with over 200 CEOs, board members, and sustainability executives. It explores a broad range of global companies and industries including finance and insurance, material extraction, retail, manufacturing, transportation, logistics, utilities, and agribusiness, as well as a diverse array of ownership structures, including public corporations, privately owned businesses, and co-operatives.
To further support you in bolstering your own effectiveness, we have also developed the Being an Effective Change Agent: Personal Inventory. We encourage you to use this as a tool for reflection, and to help you plan your future personal development.
CEOs play a crucial role in embedding sustainability into the strategies and day-to-day decisions of their organisations. Based on over 200 interviews with CEOs, board members, and sustainability executives from a range of global companies and a review of prior academic research on CEO decision-making, we developed these resources to share insights on how corporate change agents can help influence CEO thinking on sustainability.
In our Guide, we describe each of the characteristics in detail, incorporating as many direct experiences as possible to help sustainability change agents think about how to support their CEO. We also developed a Tactical Inventory to help change agents reflect on these tactics and to identify which of them might be most appropriate for their own setting.