The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022: #RedefiningPower - Katherine Neebe, Chief Sustainability & Philanthropy Officer, Duke Energy, United States
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“Women are often the most vulnerable in times of crisis; they have been disproportionally impacted, for example, in terms of job losses due to COVID-19 as well as violence and displacement in the case of climate change. Yet, women represent roughly half the population and, when fully included in the economy, are significant drivers of economic health, mobility and growth. It is essential that their voices are heard, and they have a seat at the table – at all levels and sectors of leadership. This benefits not just women, but also society more broadly.”- Katherine Neebe, Chief Sustainability & Philanthropy Officer, Duke Energy
Katherine Neebe is Vice President, national engagement and strategy and Chief Sustainability Officer at Duke Energy and President of the Duke Energy Foundation. Katherine leads Duke Energy’s strategy to deliver on the dual goals of meeting customer needs for reliable and affordable energy and achieving the company’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Katherine’s deep expertise in stakeholder engagement, environmental sustainability, and social impact is grounded in her prior roles at Walmart and the World Wildlife Fund. Her work has spanned leading Walmart’s environmental, social, and governance strategy as well as managing one of the world’s largest corporate-non-governmental organization (NGO) partnerships with The Coca-Cola Company, focusing on water, agriculture, and climate in more than 45 countries. Katherine is a First Movers fellow through the Aspen Institute.
Q: What is the importance of women's leadership in today's society plagued by the triple crises of COVID, Climate, and Conflict, and their deadly consequences?
Women are often the most vulnerable in times of crisis; they have been disproportionally impacted, for example, in terms of job losses due to COVID-19 as well as violence and displacement in the case of climate change. Yet, women represent roughly half the population and, when fully included in the economy, are significant drivers of economic health, mobility and growth. It is essential that their voices are heard, and they have a seat at the table – at all levels and sectors of leadership. This benefits not just women, but also society more broadly.
Q: What role do you believe women in leadership positions have to play in helping companies and brands transition towards sustainability and circularity, and why is this important?
I believe business exists to serve society. When a company is comprised of leaders who reflect the diversity of the community it serves, it is best positioned to mitigate against risks, nimby navigate complex issues and identify new opportunities. This is the heart of sustainability. Women need to be part of the conversation and can help challenge conventional thinking and bring new approaches forward to rewire systems for the benefit of all.
Q: What can be done to improve women’s participation in corporate and leadership positions? How do we achieve this?
Women, as well as other diverse voices, should be provided with opportunity and access not only to leadership positions but also to the important and often defining work that happens earlier in a career – people management, P&L responsibilities, high profile special projects. It’s also about representation. Women need to be able to see others progressing in the pipeline as well as succeeding in the leadership roles they aspire to. One way we can achieve this to hold current leaders accountable for ensuring equal access.
Q: What does this award mean to you and what significance does it hold to you personally and/or professionally, and your company?
The sustainability community is innovating forward to simultaneously deliver societal value and business value. These women are rock stars and I draw tremendous inspiration from both the fearlessness with which they tackle big challenges and the positive change they are bringing the world. This award is both an honor and a highlight and I’m grateful to The SustainabilityX® Magazine for the opportunity.
The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022
The SustainabilityX® Magazine proudly announced the release of The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s inaugural Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards™ 2022 on Oct 4th, 2022, an inaugural annual list celebrating the powerful work of women in sustainability leadership around the world.
The non-profit digital magazine’s Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards™ high-level, invite-only program graciously sponsored by the award-winning Canadian construction and engineering firm Belnor Engineering Inc., recognizes achievements of the world’s powerful, groundbreaking female sustainability leaders who’re bridging the gender gap by breaking barriers, shattering traditional stereotypes, and taking the world of sustainability by storm. This campaign is in line with the magazine’s third pillar of sustainability upon which SustainabilityX® is based: social inclusion, which involves marginalized populations and vulnerable communities such as women, persons with disabilities, unemployed youth, LGBTQ+, the elderly, and BIPOC minorities.
“As both a female and one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 In Sustainability Leadership myself, I know how important this is,” says Supriya Verma, founder of The SustainabilityX® Magazine. “The number of women in positions of leadership – from business to politics – are relatively few. With society plagued by the triple crises of COVID, climate, conflict, and their deadly consequences, how can the world advance and achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals without having women in decision-making positions at major organizations, political parties, and academic institutions?”
In The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s quest to ‘redefine power’, this is the first international power-list bringing together women around the world involved in sustainability celebrating the power of their work – not their position. This list brings together a diverse group of accomplished women across business, entertainment, academia, law, politics, and beyond ranging from some of the world's leading companies, to independent unsung heroes with one thing in common: using their power with purpose –the power to create change and influence lives to make the world a better place. After all, that's what sustainability is all about. The meaning, or ‘the power’ of one’s work matters, not one’s position in a corporate hierarchy, particularly during this crucial era.
View the full list: The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022
About The SustainabilityX® Magazine
The SustainabilityX® Magazine is an award-winning, digital, female-founded, and female-led non-profit initiative bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue. Founded on May 8, 2016 and inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 in Sustainability Leadership awardee, Supriya Verma, the digital media initiative focuses on approaching the world’s most pressing challenges with a holistic, integrated, systems-based perspective as opposed to the traditional and ineffective siloed approach with a single lens on interdisciplinary topics like climate and energy. This initiative ultimately seeks to explore how to effectively bring the environment and economy together through intellectual, insightful dialogue and thought-provoking discussion amongst individuals across sectors taking an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to untangling the intricate web of sustainability.
The SustainabilityX® Magazine is based upon the four pillars of sustainability: Environmental Stewardship which emphasizes improved environmental health, Economic Prosperity which emphasizes economic growth without the element of capitalism, Social Inclusion which emphasizes EDI for BIPOC and LGBTQ communities and marginalized, vulnerable populations, and Just Governance which emphasizes the equal rule of law via responsible political leadership to create fair systems for all. Identifying the diverse factors involved in sustainability, how they interact and how the disciplines are interconnected will help accelerate local, national, and international sustainability goals – in simpler words, aligning with The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s mission of bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue for a sustainable future. Whether you have a background in science, engineering, business, law, politics, media and entertainment, or beyond, your voice matters.
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