Making Sustainability a Leadership Imperative in the Semiconductor Industry
Today’s world is going through multiple crises, post-pandemic adjustment, war in Ukraine, inflation and geopolitical uncertainties. Leadership needs to be able to navigate this storm and be equipped to operate a resilient business, explicitly set out to improve people’s lives whilst operating within the natural boundaries set by the planet. This is a lot to ask for, but long-term corporate stability and success will be heavily dependent on the chosen leaders.
As a former leader in several semiconductor-based businesses, I know and understand the competing priorities and critical issues we face every day. Building out capacity sustainably, while transforming currently operating facilities, is a challenge requiring a new mindset and new skills.
That’s why, along with two experts on sustainability from Mercuri Urval, a leading leading global executive search and leadership advisory firm based in Sweden, I have authored a quick-read white paper on finding sustainability initiative leaders. Below are a few highlights from the white paper, available on the SEMI Sustainability Initiative website. Once you have read the paper, we would be thrilled to discuss it with you and your team.
Effective leadership based on a sustainability mindset is key
Businesses must develop sustainability roadmaps that support their unique strategies, goals, and cultures while, in the case of public companies, driving shareholder value. A mindset of sustainability rooted in business practices that cultivate their workforce and community ties is key as organizations work to decarbonize. Three areas will define the contours of their sustainability initiatives:
- Leadership Culture and Capabilities
- People and Organization
- Business Objectives
Reimagining leadership capabilities
The execution of a transition where sustainability is merged with strategy starts with a thorough leadership capability analysis and a new approach to the leadership role. Boards and leaders must possess the right capabilities in combination with a deep commitment, a transformational mindset and a systemic outlook to facilitate and innovate the new context. Those organizations that attract, motivate and develop the most effective value-driven leaders, who can create followers based on a shared vision for change, outperform those that do not.
5 capability characteristics needed to lead a sustainability transition
We have identified five key capability characteristics modern leaders need to possess in order to be able to merge sustainability with strategy and lead and facilitate a successful transition of their company and organization:
- Practice multi-stakeholder governance
- Navigate complexity
- Authentic value-driven
- Triple-bottom-line innovative
- Long-term thinking based on courage and resilience
Identifying, selecting and developing the right leaders and specialists is crucial to delivering on the triple-bottom-line and the sustainability transition success
Leadership has the biggest impact on the result. Because of that, leadership may also be the first barrier to effectively merging sustainability with strategy and thus succeeding with delivering on the triple-bottom-line and the sustainability transition.
Therefore, it is crucial for companies and organizations in the semiconductor value chain to be able to find, attract, assess, assign, onboard and develop leaders and specialists who can deliver predictable results throughout the sustainability transition and when it comes to the triple-bottom-line deliveries.
According to a recent Microsoft report, to date, most companies at the forefront of sustainability transition have been scrappy, growing the “home-grown” talent they need. The Microsoft report states that (quote): “… employers so far have tapped 68% of their sustainability leaders by hiring from within their own company. Some 60% of sustainability team members joined without expertise in the field.”
Learn more by downloading the white paper.
Sustainability at ISS Europe
Our next opportunity to hear from sustainability thought leaders is at ISS Europe 2023 – Feb. 15-16 in Vienna, Austria. Join us for the Sustainable and Smart Manufacturing Solutions session as the speakers provide insights into novel technologies and solutions for improving semiconductor manufacturing efficiencies and reducing the industry’s carbon footprint. Registration is open.
Mousumi Bhat is vice president of Global Sustainability Programs at SEMI.