Julia Roberts Hasn’t Changed. But Hollywood Has – Six Pitfalls to avoid when Mobilising for Sustainability – Model Imaan Hammam on the Fashion Show That Changed Her Life – Net-zero Transition in eight Visualisations

Julia Roberts Hasn’t Changed. But Hollywood Has – Six Pitfalls to avoid when Mobilising for Sustainability – Model Imaan Hammam on the Fashion Show That Changed Her Life – Net-zero Transition in eight Visualisations

Today’s edition of the TextileFuture Newsletter will allow you insights into four different items.

Number 1 is a feature on “Julia Roberts Hasn’t Changed. But Hollywood Has”and it will offer you a deep insight into the personality of Julia Roberts. It is written by David Marchese from the New York Times.

Number 2 is an item how to avoid “Six Pitfalls when Mobilising for Sustainabilty” and it is based upon a report of the Boston Consultancy Group.

Number 3 is a video on “Model Imaan Hammam on the Fashion Show That Changed Her Life”, based upon a video clip by the Wall Street Journal.

Number 4 introduces you to “Net-zero Transition in eight Visualisations” and stems from McKinsey.

We from TextileFuture hope that we inspire you with these four items and we wish you a delightful reading. Don’t forget to come back next Tuesday for another TextileFuture Newsletter.

Here starts the first feature:

Julia Roberts Hasn’t Changed. But Hollywood Has.

By guest author David Marchese from the New York Times. David Marchese is a staff writer for the magazine and the columnist for Talk. Recently he interviewed Neal Stephenson about portraying a utopian future, Laurie Santos about happiness and Christopher Walken about acting. Photo illustration by Bráulio Amado

Julia Roberts is one of those few actors who have achieved a stardom that never really fades: She’s always up there in the pop-culture firmament, flashing that famous smile. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn that her role as the Watergate whistleblower Martha Mitchell in the new Starz mini-series “Gaslit,” which premieres April 24, is her first acting work in four long years. As if making up for lost time, Roberts has found in the part of Mitchell — wife of the former attorney general and Nixon confidante John N. Mitchell, played in the series by Sean Penn — a character that affords her the opportunity to deliver the full Julia experience. Martha’s brighter moments give Roberts the chance to exude the charisma and sass that lit up her earlier, lighter movies. Then as the story slides into grimmer territory, she draws on the darker, more fine-grained character work that has defined the later years of her career. It’s a welcome return. “It wasn’t by design,” Roberts, who is 54, says about her recent low profile, “so much as not finding something that I was interested in. I was surprised how quickly the years seemed to go by.”

The story of Martha Mitchell is largely about power and influence and how men react to a woman trying to exert it. You’re someone who has experienced having power in your world.1Did you bring any of that to Martha?

1 Roberts was the first actress to command a $20 million salary, for “Erin Brockovich” (2000). For “Mona Lisa Smile” (2003), that figure was $25 million.

I guess I could find commonality with Martha in that on the surface she’s a woman who’s sure of herself and comfortable around all the gents and cigars and knows how to work a room. What’s interesting is that her undoing, in my thought process in portraying her, was that she didn’t want to go out and beat the drum for Nixon, but people responded to her. So she was pushed to go out and represent Nixon, and I think she started to dig it. But it wasn’t without an enormous amount of cajoling. She had problems with her nerves and anxiety and being in front of people, which I can completely appreciate — you have to conceal all that. I don’t know if that answers your question. I feel like ultimately I could appreciate her more than lend myself to her.

The thing about your answer — My rambling? [Laughs.]

You can ramble. It’s fine. But you skipped the part of the question that alluded to your experience of power. OK, what is my experience of power? Well, it’s always going to be the person, man or woman, who doesn’t know what they’re doing or doesn’t have confidence in what they’re doing that’s going to be the pain in the ass. Even when I am for sure not the smartest or most powerful person in the room, if I feel confident being in that room then I feel good saying, “I’m sorry, what are we doing?” That becomes collaboration, which is my favorite thing. Sam Esmail,2

2 Roberts last appeared in the debut season of “Homecoming,” which, like the similarly conspiracy-minded “Gaslit,” was co-produced by Esmail, who is perhaps best known for creating the techno-thriller series “Mr. Robot.” he’s a great collaborator because he brings in such a strong team, and goodness knows I have waited my adult life to work with my friend Sean Penn. The John and Martha scenes, when we first read them, Sean and Matt Ross3

3 The director for all eight episodes of “Gaslit.” Also an actor, Ross played the moral nitwit tech billionaire Gavin Belson on HBO’s comedy series “Silicon Valley.” came over to my house, and I made lunch, and I said to Sean, “I don’t know — the kind of actor I am — that I could perform these scenes with someone that I didn’t know very well.” Because it’s tricky stuff. Especially when you start hitting each other. I’m not a method actor, but someone hitting you is someone hitting you.

What kind of actor are you? If I had just met someone and we’d had a week of rehearsal and then started these scenes — I’d be curious to see how that performance would have ended up. The first day that Sean filmed, our characters are coming into a hotel from an event. We’re all dressed up and we walk into this room and we realize that the Secret Service guy is there. He says, “Mr. Mitchell, I need to speak with you” or something. It’s pretty straightforward. But Sean goes, “I have an idea. Trust me on this.” So we go outside the door, Matt says “action” and Sean gets on his knees behind me. He’s got his hands on my hips, and he’s going “Rawr rawr rawr rawr” into the back of my dress as we come into the room. Only a pal could be that crazy off the bat. It can’t be, “Nice to meet you; I have an idea!”

When I asked you about parallels between yourself and Martha Mitchell, you said you could “appreciate her more than lend yourself to her.” It occurs to me that when I went back to old interviews you have done, you often seemed resistant to making links between yourself and your characters. Is that because you don’t think of acting — as many people do — as this process of pulling from one’s innermost experiences and emotions? Or maybe is it because you have an aversion to talking about your internal self with journalists? If it comes off as resistance, I think it’s because you’ve been doing a deep dive on me. So hearing me say whatever it is I’ve said before might feel like I’m making a big point when they were just a smattering of small points. But if I were to examine this as you’re asking me to, to say that too much comes from inside me is to negate all the hunting and gathering I’m doing to create something. I want to find things and examine outside myself and make things up. Because once you start the performance, that stuff that’s inside us, that alchemy that makes us individuals, that’s always going to bubble up to the surface in whatever way it needs to.

“Gaslit” is another of these emotionally heavy ensemble pieces that you’ve done over the last 20 or so years. But before that you were doing more persona-driven, romantic-comedy star vehicles — movies that called for a different kind of acting than “Gaslit” or “Ben is Back”4 4 From 2018, in which Roberts played the mother of a drug-addicted son played by Lucas Hedges.or “August: Osage County.”5 5 A 2013 film adaptation of Tracy Letts’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a viciously dysfunctional Oklahoma family.

Did the move toward heavier material make you think differently about the kind of actor you are or can be? What I’ve learned is that you always want to do what you’re not doing. Whenever I’m in a comedy, I think I just want to be at a table with a cup of tea sobbing over something. Then you’re doing that, and you think, Oh to be wearing a pretty dress and laughing. People sometimes misconstrue the amount of time that’s gone by that I haven’t done a romantic comedy as my not wanting to do one. If I had read something that I thought was that “Notting Hill” level of writing or “My Best Friend’s Wedding” level of madcap fun, I would do it. They didn’t exist until this movie that I just did that Ol Parker wrote and directed.6 6 “Ticket to Paradise,” a rom-com scheduled for release this fall. Parker also wrote “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and directed “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.”

But even with that, I thought, Well, disaster, because this only works if it’s George Clooney. Lo and behold, George felt it only worked with me. Somehow we were both able to do it, and off we went. To go from John and Martha Mitchell, to play these scenes with the greatest dramatic actor, I think, of my generation in Sean Penn, and then run around Australia with George playing these very funny scenes — I’m living my acting dreams.

You’re telling me you didn’t do a romantic comedy for 20 years because there wasn’t a single good script? Not one? Yeah. It can’t be 20 years, can it?

It is. What was 20 years ago?

That was around the time of “America’s Sweethearts.” You also did those Garry Marshall movies but your parts were small.7 7 Marshall, who directed Roberts in “Pretty Woman,” cast her in his ensemble rom-coms “Valentine’s Day” (2010) and “Mother’s Day” (2016).

Here’s the thing: If I’d thought something was good enough, I would have done it. But I also had three kids in the last 18 years. That raises the bar even more because then it’s not only Is this material good? It’s also the math equation of my husband’s work schedule and the kids’ school schedule and summer vacation. It’s not just, Oh, I think I want to do this. I have a sense of great pride in being home with my family and considering myself a homemaker. For so much of my children’s younger life they would see their dad go off and I would work a little, but they almost didn’t notice. It was like I was only gone when they were napping or something. But as they get older, and particularly with my daughter, I do have a sense of responsibility for showing my children that I can be creative and that it’s meaningful to me — so meaningful that for periods of time I will choose to focus on that almost more than my family, which has been hard for me to come to terms with. I almost didn’t do “August: Osage County” because they were going to start filming right as our youngest son was starting kindergarten, and I was like, How could I miss this? I remember talking to Danny8 8 Roberts’s husband, the cinematographer Danny Moder. The two have been married since 2002 and have three children. about it, and he said: “At some point you were going to have to leave us to work. Wouldn’t you rather roll those dice in a situation like this, where you have a good understanding of what you’re going to be doing and the people you’re going to be working with?”9 9 Directed by John Wells, “August: Osage County” was co-produced by George Clooney and featured Meryl Streep and Benedict Cumberbatch, among other actors.

He was right to push me, because if he said, “I don’t know,” I would have been like: “I don’t either! I’m not going!” That’s the female plight. That feeling of leaving is hard.

What about from a business perspective rather than a family perspective? How do you decide whether the moves you’re making are the right ones? I’ve never put the work in a place of, “Doing this part, what will people think?” I read it. I want it or I don’t want it. That’s how I’ve made my decisions for 50 or whatever movies.

But was that the case with movies like, for example, “Mary Reilly’’ and “Michael Collins,” both of which were seen as an effort on your part to break out of some typecasting and both of which didn’t do well?10 10 “Mary Reilly” and “Michael Collins” were both released in 1996, were both period pieces that gave Roberts the chance to stretch (that is, try an Irish accent) and were both critical and commercial disappointments. She never did anything quite like them again.

You’re saying they had no bearing on the choices you made after? You weren’t then gun-shy or looking for roles in which you would be more secure? No. Your performance, obviously there are people helping you accomplish this goal. But the further away you get from it, the more you look alone. When you’re alone out there in the world — the “Mary Reilly,” 100-years-ago world — you look at that performance, and you think, I am fully responsible for it. I have to be fully responsible for my decision. You say “Mary Reilly” to me today, and I mean, I’m not half bad in that movie! I think I got short shrift.11 11 From The Times’s review: “Ms. Roberts, looking sheltered and maidenly as only a high-priced movie queen can, has a much narrower role. Tremulous and shocked by predictable turns, regularly discovering gruesome souvenirs mixed in with the Jekyll laundry, she gives a solemnly repetitive performance without much spark.” The film historian David Thomson, though, has pointed to Roberts’s work in “Mary Reilly” as among her finest performances.

I can stand next to it happily because it was my decision. I feel that way about everything: Do I want to be that person who can stand next to this forever? Because the sum of my joy is finished the day that we wrap. That’s all the fun I will have on a movie.

You’re basically saying you don’t want to make a turkey. Yeah, I don’t want to make a turkey. But if I do, I want to be able to go, That’s my turkey.

If a young actor or actress were to ask for advice about how to build a career or navigate Hollywood now, what would you tell them? My first response is don’t take advice from actors. Because everybody’s experience is unique — should be unique. Also, I am less qualified to give advice now because the business has changed entirely. It’s a little sad, because when I started, I felt like you did a movie and if it did well then you might get offered a couple of other movies and might have more choice and you’d get paid a little bit more on the next one. There were incremental shifts in opportunity, and it made more sense. Now it’s made more of air; maybe it doesn’t feel as sturdy when you’re going along. I felt pretty sure-footed about the choices I was making. You don’t have those incremental markers anymore, it doesn’t seem like.

So this new movie you’ve made with George Clooney: Was it easy to stretch the rom-com muscles again? The good news is yes. I love to laugh and be funny. You get into that mode of those endorphins going off when you’re clever and people going, “Oh!” Then that becomes this automatic thing where you’re always thinking in terms of creating fun. It’s a joy to play in that sandbox. It has been a long time.

Is it still possible for you to do the trademark Julia Roberts moves — the big smile and the big laugh — without any self-consciousness? If something’s funny, I’m going to laugh. If something’s not funny, nothing’s going to make me laugh. I would probably get a lot further in my career if I had more control over those things.

It’s true, you haven’t gotten very far. [Laughs.] Still!

Is it right that your smile is insured?12 12 It was widely, and apparently erroneously, reported that Roberts had her smile insured for as much as USD 30 million.

No. What am I insuring it against? How would you do that?

I don’t know. I thought it was like how you hear that Tina Turner’s legs were insured. Oh, I have heard that. I mean, if my smile was insured, there would be someone at my house on a nightly basis saying, “You need to floss longer.”

It’s interesting for me to hear you talk about your smile because when I give my big smile, people say things like “Are you OK?” and “Have you seen a doctor?” [Laughs.] Oh, stop.

I’m told I mostly make up for it with my winning personality. Anyway, I asked earlier about the roles you’ve taken during the later part of your career. Are there personal reasons for why you’ve gravitated toward heavier stuff? I’m 54 years old. The truth of what you see and how you understand it and the weight of things becomes clear. You want to be able to unpack that. Also, it might be a response to having a happy life. You think, Why would I leave a happy life to go pretend to be in a happy life? You were also talking about me being more in ensembles: I haven’t put a geography map over the workload and seen where the borders are of what I’ve done. I bet in the analysis of it there’s probably equal amounts of two-handers, four-handers, six-handers, eight-handers.

Sorry, if we overlaid eight-handers on the geography map? I’m throwing out a lot of nomenclature here, David. Keep up if you can. [Laughs.] But what does it all mean? You tell me.

Well if you look at that map, you pretty much stopped doing big Hollywood star-driven lead roles after around 2001, 2002, and I’m curious about what drove that aside from family dynamics. Or let me put it to you this way: I interviewed Brad Pitt once. He, like you, had a similar demarcation line in his career, after which the roles changed. When I asked him about it, he said he had an epiphany on the movie “Troy,” when he realized that he couldn’t get out of the center of the frame and didn’t want to play the hero anymore.13 13 “I could not get out of the middle of the frame. It was driving me crazy,” said Pitt about working on the 2004 film. “Every shot was like, Here’s the hero! There was no mystery. So about that time, I made a decision that I was only going to invest in quality stories, for lack of a better term.”

I’m wondering if you had any similar turning point? Um, no. But I do remember watching “Troy” and thinking Brad should not be the center anymore. I had that moment of clarity for Brad. For me, there might have been something subconscious. But I can’t say that I made a decision to do something different.

Going back to “Gaslit”: There has been this trend of retelling the stories of women who were harshly and quickly judged by the public in their time — people like Monica Lewinsky or Tonya Harding. Martha Mitchell’s treatment in “Gaslit” fits in with that redemption-narrative cultural theme. Were you thinking of her in those terms? And are there risks to interpreting a historical figure through a contemporary perspective? Martha could very much find herself in the same situation today as 50 years ago, left holding the bag and to have the whisper campaign against her: “She’s crazy. She’s an alcoholic.” There’s nothing that makes you look crazier than running around screaming, “I’m not crazy.” You say culture is quick to judge. Is anyone slow to judge? It doesn’t exist. So of course when given time to consider someone or a situation, nine times out of 10 you are going to reveal a gentler interpretation.

There’s also the issue of the gap between an individual’s self-perception and how they’re perceived by the public. What do you know about that gap?14 14 For those who have forgotten: Reporting on Roberts’s love life was a true staple of the ’90s tabloid press.

I decided a while ago that I’ll never really understand what people think about me and I don’t need to. I also feel like I’m a neutral person. I’m not one of those polarizing personalities — I don’t think. I don’t know. Because my job is so perfectly positioned in the priorities of my life, I’m not investing time in understanding the relationship between who I am and who people might perceive me to be.

Did you ever spend time thinking about it? Maybe when I was spending more time thinking about, Who am I? When I was 22 or whatever.

What were you thinking about who you were back then? In that period of time, particularly when I wasn’t working,15 15 After her career broke big, the actress took some time off in 1991 and 1992 before shooting a co-starring role, alongside Denzel Washington, in the 1993 John Grisham adaptation “The Pelican Brief.”

I was not sure what I was looking for, but I was sure what I wasn’t looking for. At least I had that going for me. I could read a script and say, I am not looking for that. People often ask actors, What’s your dream part? I have no idea. I can’t conjure it.

That period of searching — was that connected to suddenly becoming so famous at such a young age?16 16 Though Roberts had already earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance in the 1989 family drama “Steel Magnolias,” it was the following year’s “Pretty Woman,” released when she was only 22, that turbo-charged her fame.

There was that too. But what that meant in 1990 is different than now. I mean, I’m not Grandma Moses, but there’s been so much innovation in these last few decades that put such a different shift on society and the way people communicate. It’s just different.

Let me ask: During one of these periods when you’re not working, when you’ve got downtime, what’s an ideal day? Oh, I don’t want to sound like a turkey. I could say it, and then people will either be like, “That’s sweet” or “Oh, [expletive] off.”

I thought you didn’t care what people think. I still have a beating heart! When people say “she’s this” or “she’s that” — that I can’t do anything about. But I don’t want people reading your nice piece that’s going to be so interesting and people are going to be like, “Wow, she’s interesting in a way I never realized” — it’s all on you, David — I guess it’s like when actors talk about their eating and exercise habits. There’s two people inside me: one that goes, OK, they look great. They eat these things; they don’t eat those things. Then the other part of me goes, “Oh, [expletive] off.”

This is a convoluted answer to “What do you do for fun?” [Laughs.] Well, I’ll tell ya. They say you’re only as happy as your least happy child. So when there’s harmony in the house and you get up and make breakfast and see everybody off to school. Then do some adventuring with my husband. We’ll take a bike ride or have a coffee or a meal somewhere, and then I’ll have time to myself and now it’s almost 3 o’clock. I’ll go get the kids from school. Lacrosse practice. Start making dinner. It’s boring! That’s why you want to go, “Oh, [expletive] off.” But it’s the joy of the details of life that I get to lean into because I have this cool job. If I was here for the last 18 years doing that all day, every day, it probably wouldn’t still have pixie dust on it. But I go away, and I miss it so much. Then I come back, and it kind of resparkles. I don’t know. I can’t be the kookiest person you’ve ever talked to, David. God knows, I cannot be!

This interview has been edited and condensed from two conversations.



Here begins the second item:


Six Pitfalls to avoid when Mobilising for Sustainability

By Marjolein Cuellar, Tristan Heinrich, Anastasia Kouvela, Suketu Shah, Vinay Shandal, Connie Baik, Alice Bolton, and Jill Ross, all from Boston Consultancy Group.

The authors thank Nuwan Rajapakse for his assistance in the research and development of this article.

Companies are making bold commitments to improve ESG performance. But to successfully deliver on their goals, they must steer clear of these common challenges.

Companies across industries and regions increasingly see sustainability as a critical driver of competitive advantage. And many are setting audacious sustainability goals—reflected in concrete environmental, social, and governance (ESG) targets—including commitments to reach net zero, moves to ensure humane practices and living wages for people along their supply chain, and pledges to expand diversity, equity, and inclusion. The challenge: most are struggling to translate their goals into action. According to a recent survey of board members by BCG and the INSEAD Corporate Governance Centre, the top barrier to improving company ESG performance is the inability of the organisation to execute.

What are the factors blocking effective corporate mobilization to deliver on ESG goals? On the basis of our extensive work helping companies improve the sustainability of their businesses, we have identified six common pitfalls organizations must avoid to ensure that their ambitious targets become a reality:

  • A Weak Commitment at the Top. Senior leaders do not display a strong, visible, and consistent commitment to the sustainability agenda, limiting credibility with internal and external stakeholders.
  • The Perpetual Chief Sustainability Officer. The company appoints a CSO with no plan to transition ownership to the business, limiting ownership of and accountability for sustainability outcomes among the organization’s leaders. CSOs can be a great catalyst for progress, but companies need to plan for the role to evolve.
  • Commitments with No Accountability. Performance management, including executive compensation, is not tied to sustainability outcomes, so long-term sustainability goals lose out to near-term financial performance.
  • Coordination Problems. The role of the central sustainability team versus the business units is not clearly defined, resulting in disorganized execution and slow progress toward goals.
  • A Failure to Embed Sustainability in the Business. Sustainability is not a mandatory or material consideration in business processes, limiting employees’ ability to make decisions aligned with sustainability goals.
  • Talent Gaps. Companies fail to anticipate and act on the fundamental shifts in skills and capabilities required to deliver on their sustainability agenda.
  • The right approach to executing a sustainability strategy for an individual organization depends on a number of factors, including the company culture, the industry, and the issues that are material for the business. Overall, however, all organizations should keep these six pitfalls in mind as they hone the operating model to deliver on their sustainability ambitions.

A Weak Commitment at the Top

The absence of credible support for sustainability from senior leadership is one of the most common challenges we hear about from sustainability leaders and practitioners. Leaders can demonstrate their commitment to building a sustainable advantage in a number of ways. Executives at top sustainability performers often establish themselves as thought leaders in the sustainability space through publications and talks on the topic. They also work to drive industry- or society-wide change outside the four walls of their company by participating in sustainability-focused coalitions.

Just as important as external engagement is how leaders communicate internally about sustainability. Executives at companies recognized for their sustainability leadership speak to their employees frequently about the sustainability agenda. They spread a consistent message highlighting the links between the company’s sustainability goals and its mission, vision, and strategy, underscoring how sustainability connects to corporate purpose and helps create business value. This demonstrates a credible, authentic commitment.

The Perpetual CSO

Many companies appoint a dedicated leader to oversee the sustainability agenda. Although a CSO can create focus and momentum on sustainability early in an organization’s journey, the most effective companies understand that the role should evolve over time.

In a sample of S&P 500 companies, we found that a majority (roughly 80%) have appointed a dedicated sustainability leader. And most of them have given the CSO the authority required to be a true catalyst for change, with about 86 % placing that person within two levels of the CEO in the organisation chart. (See the exhibit.)

The early creation of the CSO role provides a source of sustained focus to drive the sustainability agenda and harmonize efforts throughout the organization. As the former CSO at a multinational consumer company notes, “You need the hammer to drive the nail. You need someone at the center to force the issue and get the training wheels on before you move to a more embedded model.”

That role, however, should shift over time. If the CSO remains separate from the core business, business unit leaders may have a tendency to offload responsibility for sustainability goals to that sustainability leader. Although the role is an important catalyst for change, it is no substitute for business-led accountability where every part of the organization plays a part in delivering on the sustainability strategy. “There needs to be distributed accountability for sustainability,” says one former consumer company CSO. “It’s about empowering the functions and geographies to internalize the values of a long-term multistakeholder business model. I used to joke that my job was to work myself out of a job.”

Some companies accomplish this transition by changing the CSO position to a dual role as the company’s sustainability efforts become more advanced, with the leader of a business unit driving a critical sustainability initiative taking on the additional role of CSO. This ensures that business leaders are accountable for sustainability outcomes and incorporate sustainability into their business objectives and decision making. At one large food manufacturer, for example, the head of sustainability also oversees procurement, a function that has a close link to the company’s ESG performance given the scale and reach of the company’s supply chain. Meanwhile, the managing directors for each country at a multinational home goods company also act as the CSO for that country.

Commitments with No Accountability

Companies struggle to deliver meaningful results when they do not establish clear accountability for sustainability goals and initiatives. This is one of the trickiest things to get right, particularly early in the journey.

In organisations at a less mature sustainability stage, a core group of leaders are often assigned accountability for meeting specific enterprise-wide sustainability goals. For example, if a key objective is to reduce the overall plastic waste that the company creates, the head of plastics may initially be responsible for meeting circularity targets. Over time, that evolves toward a more distributed model. Advanced companies break down enterprise-level sustainability goals into quantified, near-term targets at the business unit and function level. The result is clear KPIs for every business that ladder up to overarching company sustainability goals.

Clear accountability for goals is necessary, but it’s not sufficient to successfully operationalize sustainability strategies. The area where companies most often fall short is tying performance on key sustainability indicators to compensation. Without incorporating sustainability measures into performance and incentives, the longer-term sustainability goals frequently lose out in favor of near-term financial performance. One leader at a large oil and gas company recalls the struggle to get sustainability metrics incorporated into executive compensation: “Without compensation incentives beyond short-term business objectives and P&L numbers, there was no incentive for anyone to do anything on sustainability.” Unfortunately, the data suggest that this experience is relatively commonplace. Just over half of companies in the S&P 500 use some form of ESG metrics to set incentive compensation, according to research by Semler Brossey.

For accountability to be effectively hardwired, the most material sustainability targets should be incorporated into compensation and weighted meaningfully compared with financial metrics (as much as 25 % to 30 % of annual bonus and long-term incentive pay). Corporate sustainability leaders don’t stop at embedding sustainability metrics into executive compensation but cascade incentives further down in the organisation as well. For this to work, employees with compensation tied to sustainability need to understand how their work impacts sustainability goals and be empowered to raise issues and influence decisions.

Coordination Problems

Because sustainability teams are typically relatively small (fewer than 50 people in many cases), the “boxes and lines” of organization structure are not very complicated to design. What companies find more challenging, however, is clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of the central sustainability team and the business units. Given that sustainability goals often require considerable cross-functional coordination to achieve, confusion over which part of the organization is responsible for which activities can create overlapping remits and slow down progress. According to a recent survey conducted by Russell Reynolds, C-suite leaders cite organizational complexity as one of the top barriers to embedding sustainability across business strategy.

A case in point: a multinational beverage company struggled with a disorganized and decentralized sustainability effort. Sustainability roles existed throughout the organisation as well as in a corporate centre of excellence, a supply chain center of excellence, and the business units. Individual functions invested in their own sustainability capabilities, even when those were essential to other parts of the business as well. The subject matter expert on recyclable packaging, for instance, sat within and served the procurement function and was not accessible to the marketing teams in the business units that wanted to consider circularity in the design of new products. This resulted in confused execution and duplication of resources throughout the organisation.

We have observed three commonly used models that create clearly defined roles and responsibilities and help companies avoid these executional challenges:

  • A Center of Coordination. At the early stages of their sustainability journey, companies often deploy this model, creating a lean central sustainability team. The group works with executive leadership to develop the sustainability strategy, set goals and targets, and advance the initiatives needed to reach their targets. The central team’s primary focus is coordinating the initiatives across the business to ladder up to a coherent sustainability strategy. It may also provide light-touch data management, reporting, and communications support. Sustainability-affiliated staff in the business units (who may be dedicated to sustainability only part-time in many cases) execute the sustainability initiatives.
  • A Center of Support. As a company’s sustainability effort becomes more mature, the sustainability function is frequently organized into a moderately sized central team with small satellite groups embedded in the business. The central team is responsible primarily for activities that support the corporate sustainability agenda, including data management, reporting, communications, and external partnerships and advocacy. In addition, it may incubate sustainability initiatives that require new technologies or capabilities. The embedded sustainability teams and business leaders work together to set a sustainability strategy for the business units that is aligned with the corporate strategy and to design and execute the initiatives required to meet business-level targets.
  • A Center of Expertise. Another common model among mature companies is the establishment of a central sustainability team that serves as a center of expertise. This group houses subject matter experts who can help business units design and execute sustainability initiatives (the development of new products or packaging, for example). Certain key activities such as data, reporting, communications, and partnerships continue to be centralized, although these responsibilities are frequently embedded within other teams in the corporate center such as finance or corporate communications. Some companies maintain sustainability-focused teams in individual business units and functions to help leaders set the sustainability strategy for the business and design and execute projects aligned with that strategy. The need for dedicated teams diminishes, however, as employees across the business learn to apply a sustainability lens to the decisions they make.

A Failure to Embed Sustainability in the Business

Companies falter when they do not incorporate sustainability considerations into day-to-day business processes and decision making. This can reinforce the perception that sustainability is the sole remit of the central sustainability team and can hinder the ability of the workforce to make decisions aligned with the company’s sustainability goals. A former executive at a multinational home goods company points to its move to build sustainability criteria into all business cases as “the single biggest factor that changed people’s mindset.”

The most effective companies integrate sustainability performance into regular business performance reviews. They treat sustainability goals as inseparable from (or at least closely linked to) business goals and discuss sustainability progress in the same forum and format as they discuss business progress. To make this work, organizations reconfigure regular business reviews to include a discussion of both financial and sustainability KPIs and targets; business leaders model the commitment to sustainability progress by proactively asking their teams for updates on sustainability performance; and companies incorporate key sustainability KPIs and metrics into business performance dashboards to give executives regular visibility into progress.

Industry leaders also rewire key business processes, such as business planning, capital expenditure decision making, M&A, and product development, that create the biggest sustainability impact. This often requires a substantial shift in the corporate mindset about how decisions are made and how value is evaluated. The company’s sustainability goals serve as a helpful roadmap to identifying the processes with the greatest impact. For instance, organizations focused on reducing Scope 3 emissions (external emissions that occur along their value chain) will likely need to rework their procurement processes, while those aiming to drive growth through sustainable products will need to revisit their product development processes.

Companies that are serious about making a substantial sustainability impact weigh metrics related to environmental or societal impacts on par with financial measures in decision making. The specific metrics incorporated often vary according to the nature of the organisation’s goals. For example, many companies implement some form of internal carbon pricing to ensure that sustainability is embedded in the evaluation of investments. The front-runners in this space are beginning to think about how to price other externalities of their business, such as impacts on biodiversity and water resources. As the home goods executive puts it, “If you weight sustainability goals as much as business goals, then you have a fighting chance of making progress.”

Talent Gaps

Companies placing sustainability at the center of their strategy must ensure that they have the workforce and capabilities to deliver. Many organizations struggle to identify the skill shifts required to deliver on their sustainability agenda in the near and long term. This is particularly important because recent studies suggest that the demand for talent with sustainability skill sets will soon outpace supply, putting businesses that have not invested in the requisite talent and capabilities at a disadvantage.1

While companies need some basic sustainability fluency throughout their business to support the sustainability agenda, they must also plan for the fundamental capability shifts that sustainability strategies often engender. New business models, products, and services may require entirely new skill sets and competencies that the current workforce does not possess. When addressing this challenge, organizations must work backward from their sustainability goals. With clearly defined targets and a roadmap of initiatives needed to deliver on those targets, companies can determine the skill sets needed to accomplish their objectives. Then they can conduct a capability assessment to determine the extent to which the organization possesses the requisite skills. This evaluation will yield a clear picture of what skills gaps exist, and leaders can determine how best to fill those gaps, whether that means upskilling or reskilling the existing workforce, acquiring new talent outside the organization, or partnering with external organisations.

For example, many financial institutions are designing new products to meet the demand for environmental and social impact–oriented investment vehicles from their customers. These product innovations require the front-line sales teams to be able to consult knowledgeably with customers on related sustainability topics, including gaining an understanding of customer needs and describing product options and benefits. Financial institutions at the forefront of sustainability transformation are investing in broad-based upskilling for their sales teams to build these capabilities.

Alternatively, companies may need to acquire entirely new types of talent through hiring or partnering externally to access specialized skill sets. A mining company, for example, is recruiting talent with a deep understanding of green energies such as hydrogen power to drive decarbonisation innovation within the organization. It is also partnering with research institutions at the vanguard of sustainability innovation to develop sustainable-manufacturing techniques.

Corporate leaders increasingly understand that sustainability is an essential element of building competitive advantage. Avoiding the pitfalls outlined above helps ensure that companies are on the right path toward delivering on critically important sustainability goals.

As companies begin this journey, they can foresee and avoid potential challenges along the route to successful activation of their sustainability strategy by answering some key questions:

  • Do our senior leaders exhibit a visible and vocal commitment to our sustainability agenda? Can they articulate how our company builds sustainable advantage?
  • Have we put the right accountability mechanisms in place to ensure that our business and function leaders take ownership of sustainability outcomes?
  • Is sustainability built into our compensation structure in a thoughtful and material way?
  • Do we have a clearly defined interaction model between the central sustainability team and business units?
  • Have we made sustainability an essential element of our core business processes? Is it an integral part of our decision making?
  • Do we have the will and skills to accomplish our goals? Are our employees engaged in our ESG mission? What capabilities do we need to build?

The answers to these questions will reveal where gaps exist in a company’s sustainability efforts—and can be the key to ensuring that ambitious goals become a reality.



Here beginns the third item:

Model Imaan Hammam on the Fashion Show That Changed Her Life

The model shares memorable runway moments, the food that makes her happy and the fashion piece she will keep forever. Directed by Barbara Anastacio.

Related Video



This is the start of the forth item:

Net-zero Transition in eight visualisations

See the opportunities and risks of the net-zero transition through eight of our recent data visualizations.

As we highlight in a new report, a transition to net-zero emissions would entail an economic transformation that would affect all countries and all sectors of the economy, either directly or indirectly. This transformation comes with both opportunities and risks. Here are eight charts from recent McKinsey articles and reports that show what the net-zero transition could look like, as well as some of the challenges leaders—and the global population—could confront.

Addressing climate change requires big commitments—and funds—from countries and companies. Annual spending on low-emissions assets and the infrastructure to enable them carries a price tag of about $3.5 trillion above what is currently allocated, according to McKinsey analysis of the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) Net Zero 2050 scenario.

Demand for green products and services is growing strongly in categories such as energy and materials, vehicles, food, and packaging. As the net-zero transition advances, markets for zero-emissions offerings should expand further while markets for emissions-intensive offerings shrink. We estimate that burgeoning demand for net-zero offerings could create unprecedented opportunities: 11 value pools could generate up to more than $12 trillion of annual sales by 2030.

The global power industry is making strides toward reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by switching from fossil-fuel-fired power generation to renewable-energy sources such as wind and solar. That shift comes with its own set of challenges—such as strains on existing distribution infrastructure. One solution is to use long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies, which can store energy for prolonged periods and provide the flexibility to manage fluctuations in supply and demand. A McKinsey analysis found that LDES could deploy up to 2.5 terawatts of power capacity by 2040: a 15-fold increase from current energy storage capacity.

While the rate of electric-vehicle (EV) adoption has varied across the globe, depending on regional regulatory pressure and consumer interest, a transformation is well under way. China, the European Union, and the United States, for example, could end new internal-combustion-engine sales and shift fully to EVs by 2035. Analysis suggests that EVs need to make up 75 percent of all passenger car sales within the next decade to help achieve net-zero emissions.

Low-carbon products, including steel, recycled aluminum, recycled plastic, and batteries, could all be headed for supply shortages in Europe as demand for greener materials continues to grow. While supply shortfalls ought to ease as more production capacity comes online, companies that haven’t already locked in supplies of low-emissions resources could face rising price premiums. Those businesses will have to choose between paying higher prices to meet climate pledges and satisfy customer demand or risk breaking their promises.

Real-estate portfolios could face risks during a net-zero transition. Physical risks might be due to buildings being exposed to storms, floods, fires, and extreme heat. Other potential risks include assets with a high carbon footprint. Real-estate owners and investors can assess the impacts of such risks on the equity value of assets, factoring in potential gain (an office exposed to local economic growth given a concentration of cleantech industries, for example) or loss (an apartment that’s projected to experience increases in frequency and severity of flooding).

A reallocation of labour across the economy could result from the net-zero transition. About 200 million direct and indirect jobs could be gained and 185 million could be lost by 2050, according to our analysis of the NGFS Net Zero 2050 scenario. In this scenario, job gains would be largely associated with the transition to low-emissions forms of production, for example, to renewable power, while losses would particularly affect workers in fossil-fuel-intensive or other emissions-intensive sectors.

The effects of climate change could affect the global population unevenly. In a 2.0°C warming scenario, more than half the world’s total population could be exposed to at least one climate hazard, according to McKinsey analysis. These hazards include heat stress, agricultural drought, flooding, and urban water stress. In the United States alone, 160 million people—almost 40 percent of the population—could be affected.





Newsletter of last Week

Viola Davis, Inside Out – Forecast update: Lower growth and higher inflation by Bank J. Safra Sarasin – WTO: Russia-Ukraine conflict puts fragile global trade recovery at risk https://textile-future.com/archives/88183

The highlights of last week’s NEWS, for your convenience, just click on the feature to read.



VDMA Webinar on Techtextil: Sustainable technologies for Technical Textiles https://textile-future.com/archives/88532

AATCC: Speakers Address Textile Issues https://textile-future.com/archives/88595

Bed Clothes

Bed clothes – Recycled polyester with an excellent degree of whiteness https://textile-future.com/archives/88555


A big order from a small country https://textile-future.com/archives/88417


Teaching Your Old Car New Tech Tricks https://textile-future.com/archives/88577


China’s Economy Grew 4.8 % in First Quarter, Beating Expectations https://textile-future.com/archives/88265


Coloreel announces a break-through order with Snuggle on the UK DTG print fulfilment market https://textile-future.com/archives/88550


Aurora unveils comprehensive view of the company’s extensive North American technical textiles capabilities and markets served https://textile-future.com/archives/88404

Nestlé reports three-month sales for 2022 https://textile-future.com/archives/88475

Lululemon Spins Further Out of Yoga Orbit https://textile-future.com/archives/88587


Thermal Spray coatings Market worth USD 10.7 billion by 2025 https://textile-future.com/archives/88271

European Statistical Recovery Dashboard: April edition https://textile-future.com/archives/88372

The McKinsey Week in Charts https://textile-future.com/archives/88562


Ukraine: EU boosts humanitarian aid with additional EUR 50 million https://textile-future.com/archives/88246

Digital Services Act: Commission welcomes political agreement on rules ensuring a safe and accountable online environment https://textile-future.com/archives/88602


18th Carbon Dioxide Utilisation Summit in Dusseldorf, Germany (Oct. 5-6, 2022) https://textile-future.com/archives/88360

Experience Printed Décor in Motion at Printeriors 2022! https://textile-future.com/archives/88367

The turning point in textile sourcing – Sympatex joins Performance Days Munich https://textile-future.com/archives/88413

Getting closer to home with TMAS technologies https://textile-future.com/archives/88430


Material Exchange raises EUR 25 million in series A funding  https://textile-future.com/archives/88233


FIVE FROM FINLAND: Bikes https://textile-future.com/archives/88514


DSW Parent Expects Owned Brands and DTC Channels to Drive Growth Through 2026 https://textile-future.com/archives/88315


Three Questions For Wall Street Journal’s European Economics Writer Paul Hannon  https://textile-future.com/archives/88229

Intellectual Property

Accession to the Madrid Protocol:  Chile https://textile-future.com/archives/88450


Leading in a warzone: running a company during a conflict https://textile-future.com/archives/88379


Here’s why body-shaming in the metaverse is inevitable https://textile-future.com/archives/88392


Mango partners with I:CO to advance circular economy strategy https://textile-future.com/archives/88222


Print beyond full colour with Xeikon’s metallic toners https://textile-future.com/archives/88542


M&S Marble Arch demolition blocked by Government as ministers scrutinise plans https://textile-future.com/archives/88353

Hermès US chief sees future beyond “Birkins, Kellys, scarves” https://textile-future.com/archives/88384

Ranking: Top 10 most popular shopping streets in Europe https://textile-future.com/archives/88527

What to do when the servers go down https://textile-future.com/archives/88311


DFND introduces SLEEPWEAR POWERED BY CELLIANT® https://textile-future.com/archives/88437


Ground-based rover’s touch shared with astronaut in space https://textile-future.com/archives/88538


BASF: Our climate protection goalBASF: Our climate protection goal https://textile-future.com/archives/88447


Swiss Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland: Annual report 2021 : https://textile-future.com/archives/88296

Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin travels to the USA https://textile-future.com/archives/88318

Switzerland at IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings and G20 Finance Ministers Meeting in Washington D.C. (USA) https://textile-future.com/archives/88327


Inside LVMH’s biggest sustainability plan yetInside LVMH’s biggest sustainability plan yet https://textile-future.com/archives/88287


SIFT – Webinar on the alternative payment Predicament: To accept of not accept? https://textile-future.com/archives/88237

Eurostat Webinar: How COVID-19 impacted employment https://textile-future.com/archives/88321