Sustainability is a relatively new discipline and function within modern organizations. Most professionals can probably describe the responsibilities of CEO, CFO and COO. But ask them to describe what a sustainability leader does and you’re likely to hear crickets. And yet, as climate change continues to dominate headlines and the mindshare of millions of people, the efficacy of a sustainability leader could become just as important as any of those other titles.

For the last 20 years, I’ve watched sustainability grow in importance for numerous types of organizations: for-profit businesses, non-profits, associations, agencies, trusts and land-owner groups to name a few. But for all the emphasis on the discipline, there is no overarching and agreed-upon description of what a sustainability leader does or what they are responsible to achieve.


How To Optimize Your Performance as a Sustainability Executive


Sustainability roles are proliferating globally and the individuals serving in these positions are often functioning as de facto senior executives. Yet, in my experience, far too few sustainability leaders actually see themselves as a senior executive. Very few view themselves as someone imbued with the same level of influence and responsibility as C-Suite leaders like CEO, CFO and COO. Yet, after coaching dozens of sustainability leaders for many years, I’m left with one overarching impression. They must define their role as they are executing it. About the only other type of role I’ve seen where this dynamic is in play is—you guessed it—the C-Suite.  

Change Agents Wear White Hats

Leveraging Expert Partners to Improve Corporate Environmental Strategy


There has never been a better time for industries with a big environmental footprint to integrate their environmental and social actions with their business bottom line, corporate commitments, and improved public relations. An increasingly watchful public stands ready to vote with their dollars to show their love to corporations who invest in measurable, innovative, effective resource conservation. If you ever considered re-tooling your company’s approach to environmental asset management, congratulations! You would be one of an increasing number of early innovators to gain from a trend that shows no sign of diminishing–ever. The good news is that along with increasing public and legislative scrutiny there also exist better tools for actionable, performance-based environmental outcomes that are meaningful to your business. Performance-based outcomes, including private environmental market solutions, are the under-utilized but innovative and diverse solution to corporate environmental compliance torpor. It’s time to step up and better yet, lead from within. How to connect with the right people to help you do it.

Three Recommendations for Crop Protection Industry Executives

How to Work with Agencies to Avoid Lawsuits and Manage Market Share


A history of narrowly framed approaches has resulted in obstacles to pesticide registrations while not fully delivering on the intent of both the ESA and FIFRA. Ideally, the desired objective is effective registration of needed crop protection products, with equitable, well-coordinated and meaningful conservation outcomes where appropriate. Instead, however, the historical landscape reads like this: regulatory agencies do not effectively coordinate FIFRA risk assessments with ESA population-level assessments; while in the meantime, the pursuit of “no effect” conclusions for listed species through higher-tier science, label mitigation and deliberation in court has resulted in major uncertainties and inefficiencies for product registrations. These strategies are terminal and outdated. In short, change is the only way forward.

How to be FIFRA & ESA Compliant

Your Guide to Getting and Keeping Crop Protection Products on the Shelf


For a crop protection product to be commercially viable it must be effective, scientifically sound, and legally defensible. In the US, an existing dysfunctional alignment of the two regulatory laws that govern crop protection products– the Federal, Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA)–combines with corporate habits of siloed departments and narrow use of intellectual disciplines. In a climate of increasing public scrutiny and pressure, the recipe is for standstill–stilted or stalled innovation; regulatory logjams, and toothless, watered down, meaningless conservation activities.


A Short History of the FIFRA-ESA Regulatory Debacle and a Way Forward for Business, the Environment, Regulators, and Society


While both FIFRA and ESA regulations consider effects to the environment, they were not initially developed with process compatibility in mind. The result is a long history of two regulations that may have worked well on their own, but when it comes to shared outcomes, the processes have fallen short, leaving farmers with less products and species with unattended conservation needs. In this article we provide a short history of this issue to date as a platform for shared understanding and advancing progress.


ESA Compliance Provides Opportunities for Increasing Crop Use Markets, Benefitting Species Conservation, and Achieving Legal Defensibility


Our focus is on presenting how to have conservation that counts for regulatory compliance in a pesticide registration. We discuss the regulatory and scientific processes for simultaneously and quantitatively considering all forms of conservation measures. These steps and resulting outcomes provide opportunities for increasing crop use markets, benefitting species conservation, and achieving legal defensibility. Presented at the 2022 American Chemical Society Annual Meeting.

VIDEO: A Pilot Example of Maximizing Conservation Measures

Using Avoidance, Minimization, and Offsetting in National Scale Pesticide Consultations


Reasonable and prudent measures (RPMs) and reasonable and prudent alternatives (RPAs) have been the primary mechanism utilized to date by the consulting agencies in pesticide Biological Opinions. However, the full suite of conservation measures (avoidance, minimization, and offsetting) have not been applied. Here we show how we developed an effects analysis to quantify residual, unavoidable impacts following avoidance and minimization measures, thereby improving the proposed project action in ESA section 7 consultation(s), and including the use of offsets to address residual, unavoidable effects to listed species.

Video: Developing a Communication Platform that Meets the Needs of both FIFRA Labeling Instructions and Endangered Species Act Avoidance and Minimization Requirements

Ideas for Opportunities Toward Achieving Compliance and Species Protection


As more pesticides move through the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) endangered species biological evaluation toward formal Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 consultation, a revised technological platform with an expanded scope is needed to effectively communicate both Federal Fungicide Insecticide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and ESA-related application instructions to end users. Here we discuss critical elements and digital platforms that would better meet the needs of both FIFRA registration and ESA Section 7 label instructions, including 1) spatial resolution, 2) temporal resolution, 3) proximity to sensitive habitat, 4) application technologies, 5) environmental conditions constraints, and 6) possible application reporting features.

Video: Integrated Regulatory Processes are Crucial for Conservation Progress

Achieving Effective ESA Consultations in FIFRA Registrations


Creekbank Associates reviews and critiques the current FIFRA registration ESA process through the lens of the March 2020 Carbaryl Draft Biological Evaluation (DBE), providing recommendations to inform and advance the Section 7 consultation and including methodologies for identifying best-fit conservation measures with an equitable, transparent framework for all registrants.


Meaningful Stewardship Outcomes and Better Pesticide Consultations through the Use of Population Assessment and Conservation (PAC) Measures


Creekbank Associates proposes a smarter methodology to improve conservation outcomes through better use of real-world data, increased understanding of healthy species dynamics, and agility in the diagnostic process. Presented August 2020 at the ACS virtual conference and expo.


Presented at the 2020 National Mitigation Banking & Ecosystem Banking Conference


Registration of crop protection products, particularly challenges related to achieving compliance with endangered species conservation laws, continues to be complicated and could affect availability of crop protection tools for production agriculture. In this video, Creekbank discusses strategies for meeting both FIFRA and ESA regulatory compliance requirements through the use of avoidance, minimization, and offsetting conservation measures, and the associated opportunities for ecological restoration service providers. Presented at the 2020 National Mitigation Banking & Ecosystem Banking Conference.