Signature Career Management

Sustainability Recruitment

At Signature we understand that Sustainability Recruitment requires a cross-functional approach

Why are Sustainability Departments increasingly common?

Sustainability Recruitment

With phrases like ‘Carbon Neutral’ and ‘Climate Emergency’ appearing in the headlines on a daily basis, it has become apparent that businesses need to do their bit to relieve the pressure which global industry is placing on the planet.

With a heavy reliance on transnational supply chains and the intense focus placed on the impact of consumerism, the FMCG industry is frequently in the spotlight and their green credentials are facing increasing scrutiny.

For this reason, many consumer goods businesses are opting to build out dedicated departments to provide the transparency and accountability that is in high demand while helping them to capitalise on the benefits which can be achieved through the adoption of sustainable practices.

Commitment to Sustainability Objectives

Consumer demands, Scope 3, compliance and supply chain risks are just some of the reasons why businesses are committing to their sustainability objectives, as such efforts should encapsulate all aspects of the business by collaborating cross functionally to make positive changes. It may be important for compliance and mitigating risk but this also presents an opportunity to add commercial value in the FMCG industry.

Improving the sustainability of a business relies on technical, compliance, programme & data management and communications capabilities across the supply chain. Building these capabilities requires strategic direction from leaders as well as executional and operational talent to act on the commitments made by the business.

How important is Sustainability Recruitment?

sustainability recruitment through Signature

Sustainability is not an isolated competency and requires a cross-functional approach that pulls together the resources of the traditional business functions such as sales, marketing, production, R&D and logistics.

Roles and responsibilities range from technical, compliance, reporting, transport and management, and require a high degree of collaboration to bring about meaningful systemic change.

However, with the relatively short-lived prominence of the challenges they are set up to combat, many brands are still feeling their way when it comes to developing this aspect of their business structure.

Sustainability recruitment therefore requires an understanding of the complexities of each role, demands an appreciation of the relational aspects of each function and necessitates that it stays abreast of the nuanced and rapidly evolving landscape.

The development of truly effective Sustainability Departments is therefore often limited by the skills and ability of third-party agencies who would ordinarily be called in to support in the hiring of more traditional and well-established roles.

What are the key components for successful Sustainability Recruitment?

Successful sustainability recruitment relies on two key components; people with a diverse set of skills and a structure that allows the team to become high performing and wrap themselves around all functions of the business. For positive change to occur it requires a combination of strategy and execution to move the business towards its long-term commitments.

High performing sustainability teams should be made up of talent with different expertise, focuses and skills. However, they must collaborate to manage stakeholders internally and externally across the value chain to execute programmes and projects across the business.

Constructing a team that has all the capabilities needed to execute on the strategy requires planning, a clear vision and business focus, with inspiring leadership to empower the team to execute on their mission.

When recruiting in sustainability, it is crucial that professionals have some core skills and competencies regardless of the role. Strong stakeholder management, communication, organisation, ability to listen and influence, project management and a passion to make a positive difference are essential. Then, it becomes about constructing a team that has a range skills and expertise across ESG, functions, seniority that can collaborate to maximise impact.

Aerial View of Road in the Middle of Trees

What happens if we don't act?

In the hyperconnected world that we live in, brands are increasingly exposed to rapidly evolving social movements.

We have seen this recently with the emphasis that has been placed on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and the intolerance shown to businesses that drag their feet when implementing change.

Regardless of the reputational impact of being behind the curve, as we have seen with DE&I, governments are increasingly prepared to legislate against those who they feel aren’t pulling their weight.

It is therefore imperative that businesses take swift and positive action to address the challenges of developing sustainable practices if they want to secure the future success of their brands.

How can Signature help?

As a Sales & Marketing recruitment specialist to the FMCG industry, we have become acutely aware of the importance that sustainability credentials play in the long-term competitiveness of brands within our sector.

We frequently hear that Buyers have increasingly high expectations around Sustainability and are no longer happy with it being covered off with a couple of slides in a pitch if they are to agree to listings.

As such, we have extended our offering outside of our traditional commercial functions by bringing in specialist support so that we can offer recruitment consultancy for the increasingly essential expertise required within Sustainability.

This appointment will enable Signature to now provide a genuine joined-up approach for businesses looking to build highly-competitive commercial teams that can confidently provide the much sought-after transparency and accountability of their sustainability endeavours.

This department will be headed up by Nathan Collinson who has joined us with a wealth of client-side talent attraction experience gained with one of the world’s largest ingredients businesses.

Amassing expertise within employment branding and the wider marketing piece as well as working cross-functionally, Nathan’s efforts have focused on recruitment in the Sustainability function over the last two years.

Coming from a business that leads the way in sustainable supply chains, Nathan can not only attract talent in this arena but can provide the truly consultative offering that Signature Career Management has become synonymous with.

Ready to start your journey?