Top Three Communications Skills of Sustainability Influencers

By Shannon Houde
Jul 11, 2017 12:30 PM ET

Communication comes up again and again in analyses of key competencies for sustainability leadership.  Being able to build bridges between science and business, between the finance department and the sales department, between NGO concerns and board-level strategy, and then, get everyone moving forward across the bridge in sync.  These are the tasks of a Sustainability Influencer, and they don’t come easily!

Pretty much every job description ever written for a senior exec sustainability/impact role has included communications in the list of essential skills. Just search for ‘communications’ in my blog and you’ll see all the Hot Jobs that come up – and these are just the ones with communications in the title!

But what do we mean by communication? Certainly, there’s more to it than simply being able to write, speak, or present. And more to it than the feared “greenwashing.”  The best Sustainability Influencers combine empathic connection, personal passion, clear thinking, and creative expression, with a solid understanding of the business and a scientific grounding in what it truly means to be sustainable. This is why, when sustainability people talk about communication, it’s more than a skill – it’s an art.

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Shannon is the founder of Walk of Life Leaders, the first international leadership and team development consultancy focused on the impact agenda - environmental, sustainability, social enterprise, impact investing, international development and corporate responsibility.