This list consists of environmental leaders who are the face of a sustainable future by working for some of the largest companies in the United States and the world. As Chief Sustainability Officers, their daily tasks and professional identities are continuously evolving. They need to be versed in marketing, energy, leadership and possess creative ability in problem-solving.
The position of Chief Sustainability Officer is a relatively recent one that has grown exponentially over the past few years. The rise of the investor ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) has increased the demand for businesses to address environmental concerns by shareholders and consumers.
In the past, these concerns would be handled by a business manager but have developed into a position independently. The demand and importance of the position have grown it to what is now a C-level executive role. The position of CSO has not been standardized across industries, meaning that each industry's expectations and needs for a CSO will be different.
These CSOs are some of the best environmental minds not only in the country but the world.
Virginie Helias, Procter & Gamble
Helias's focus has been on sustainability and corporate citizenship. Her mission was to “embed sustainability into the innovation, brand-building and everyday business practices at P&G.” Procter and Gamble are one of the largest manufacturers of consumer goods worldwide.
Helias has worked for P&G for over three decades, which gave her the confidence to create the position she is currently in, which did not exist within the company prior. In 2016, she was promoted to Vice President of Global Sustainability in recognition of the work she has led to making sustainability a core business strategy.
Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, OSI Group
Hoffman has taken on the challenge of finding sustainable solutions for one of the largest meat processors in the world. OSI Group provides animal products to franchises like McDonald's, In N’ Out, and more. As OSI Groups’ Chief Sustainability Officer, Hoffman brings her perspective that to change an entire industry, you must start with the largest companies within it, as she plans to do. Her leadership is in sustainable agriculture and manufacturing.
Knowing the fast-food industry doesn’t always carry the best reputation, Hoffman is dedicated to marketing a new face for the industry, prioritizing problem-solving, and investing in sustainable solutions.
Lisa Jackson, Apple Inc.
For many years, Jackson served as the Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Her particular focuses have always been greenhouse gas and climate change mitigation efforts.
Jackson is a true asset to the Apple Inc. empire and works as a functional Chief Sustainability Officer. Jackson primarily focuses on addressing climate change-related projects through Apple, especially renewable energy infrastructure and energy efficiency. She also shows leadership in Apple’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative. This effort focuses on education, economic opportunity, and criminal justice reform.
Kate Brandt, Google LLC
Brandt previously worked at the White House in 2014 under President Obama as the Federal Environmental Executive, where she made history as the first to fill this role. She is now Google’s Chief Sustainability Officer, where she leads worldwide sustainability operations, conferences, supply chains. Brandt stands behind the concept of a circular economy and markets herself as a sustainable futurist.
Outside Magazine has named Brandy one of 40 women to create such monumental environmental and social impact worldwide. Her International Relations background serves her well in connecting nations around the world to achieve sustainability goals.
Lucas Joppa, Microsoft
Dr. Joppa is accredited by Fortune magazine in its “40 Under 40” list as Microsoft’s Chief Sustainability Officer. He is a global voice for sustainability in the tech industry and is one of the world’s most-cited researchers. Joppa sits on the boards of various environmental organizations and initiatives and is highly skilled at marketing environmental ideas.
In working for one of the most influential companies on the planet, Joppa leads Microsoft’s carbon negative and zero-waste company goals, which have been designed to inspire other companies to follow suit. Joppa is currently working with Microsoft to create a system that will transform the way we monitor, model, and manage Earth’s natural systems.