Coaching, Mentoring & Advising People Looking To Make Lasting Positive Change


Being a sustainability leader is not for the faint of heart. Most sustainability leaders we’ve worked with over the years are tasked with the seemingly impossible. They are given huge hills to climb, big challenges to overcome and an endless list of tasks to achieve. But they’re usually not given enough budget, talent or time to do it all.

More importantly, most sustainability leaders are usually not given the authority to make decisions autonomously, the sort of decisions that lead to meaningful and lasting change. This means sustainability leaders typically have to be far more coach and cheerleader than military commander. They have to rely on influence and persuasion rather than decision-rights. 

Through our work with sustainability leaders, we identify and develop the best possible outcomes for enhancing their organization’s Social License to Operate.

But here’s the thing we’ve noticed. Even with all of the inherent challenges that come from being a sustainability leader, you can still make a real and lasting impact. But you probably can’t do it alone. That won’t work. Why do we say this?

The ESG movement has given rise to a host of new roles inside organizations and Chief Sustainability Officer, or equivalent titles, are part of this movement. The people who step into these roles often enter from diverse backgrounds that have only partially prepared them to be sustainability leaders. Some come from serving as effective executives who’ve demonstrated competency in a given role.

But they’re also passionate about the environment and feel a really strong connection to nature. They’ve probably also had numerous ideas over the years for how their enterprise could be more eco-friendly and enhance their Social License to Operate along the way. Others arrive with green degrees and fresh energy, but they frequently struggle to navigate through internal and external politics.

We also see sustainability leaders who come with non-profit sector experience get hired by for-profit companies. While these leaders may know a lot about sustainability, they often struggle to operate within a culture driven by a profit imperative. This can lead to culture-clash and the isolation of the sustainability leader.

Given these dynamics, there are literally thousands of sustainability leaders today who are new to their roles. They have to create their own mission and operating plans. They have to define their role while simultaneously executing against it. They have to build alliances, set expectations with senior leaders and foster teams of people who are often part-time contributors. They have to communicate with dozens of different stakeholders, each of whom has their own motives and varying levels of support for sustainability initiatives.

This is why Creekbank Associates exists. Our mission is to empower sustainability leaders to achieve their mission. We’ve learned so many lessons about how to be effective under these conditions. We share many of these lessons through our Sustainability Leader Insights newsletter. But we have our greatest impact through our coaching, consulting and technical services, where we get to partner with sustainability leaders to achieve their most important goals. If you’re looking for a partner who can help you be even more effective in your role, you’ve come to the right place.