• Michael Birkebæk Jensen, Partner |
3 min read

Sustainable leadership is being discussed in every modern management room today. The reason for this is, among other things, that an increasing number of companies will be affected by upcoming reporting requirements, but also that more companies understand the need to consider both environmental and societal aspects as an integrated part of their business strategy to achieve both short- and long-term success. But what exactly is sustainable leadership, and what can companies do about it in practice?

This is something, we are very interested in at KPMG, and we are therefore constantly exploring how we can gain new insights in this area that can challenge both our own and our clients’ perspectives on how we work with sustainable leadership in practice.

We have contributed to Jeanette Fangel Løgstrup's critically acclaimed book "Sustainable Leadership", and hosted several seminars and events with sustainable leadership as the focal point. In this context, we have several times been asked by people who were unable to attend these events to pass the most important takeaways on. Hence this blogpost, where we have gathered some of the important insights, concrete advice, and ideas that we believe many will find beneficial.  

We would like to thank the experts and industry leaders Jeanette Fangel Løgstrup, CEO at Expon, Louise Gade, Executive Vice President at Salling Group, Sebastian Glanz, Head of PMO & Transformation at Aalborg Portland, and Jens Bjerg Sørensen, CEO at Schouw & Co., who all attended our recent event and gave their perspectives on how sustainability and responsibility can be integrated into companies.

The most important insights and advice on sustainable leadership:

The most important insights and advice on sustainable leadership:

  1. It is important to have a clear strategy for sustainability that can be anchored throughout the organisation and adapted to the needs of the individual company.
  2. Partnership is a key word, and cooperation is needed e.g., to create and develop sustainable packaging in large scale. The partnerships are necessary to achieve a long-term approach to sustainability and focus on the environment, social responsibility, and economic aspects. At the same time, a holistic approach to sustainability, including processes, products and partners, is necessary to succeed.
  3. If you want to create positive societal impacts through suppliers and companies, it is essential to have a strong management team that has a clear vision and high ambitions, which supports the ESG agenda. They also need to ensure value creation at all levels throughout the organisation to enable a long-term approach to sustainability.
  4. Our SMEs face several challenges in the ESG area, an example of this is that they are already facing an increase of requests for ESG data that can be challenging and time-consuming to provide. They need the help of major players in the industry to navigate in the jungle of infinite information to overcome these strategic challenges.
  5. Sustainability and responsibility are essential to creating a more sustainable future for everyone, and businesses have an important role to play in driving this development. This requires efforts from all parties, and it is clear that there are many positive initiatives underway among Danish companies that are at the forefront of this.

Finally, we at the ESG hub also contributed by sharing our knowledge and experiences within Tech and ESG. We want to highlight the importance of understanding the new concept of "Digitainability" which constitutes a fusion between the two mega trends: Digitalisation and Sustainability.  In short, it is about using digital technologies e.g., artificial intelligence to bring sustainability initiatives to a higher level. We will elaborate on this topic in a later blog post, if you are interested.

In conclusion, we would like to emphasise the key message once again: we need to create a strong collaboration across to ensure a solid foundation and network that can create the sustainable progress we need if not only Danish business, but also the planet as a whole is to survive in the long term.

Written by Michael Birkebæk Jensen and Phuongdan Hoai Truong

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