CSOs Should Stop Reading Sustainability Journals

For the past ten years, I have made a habit of not reading any environmental or sustainability journals. Any chief sustainability officer (or equivalent) who is struggling to make the business case for sustainability time and time again should do the same. So-called green journals are “the choir preaching to the choir.” C-suite executives are understandably unimpressed by statements quoted from these sources.

Routinely, I read a dozen or so mainstream business journals. These are the same journals that board members and C-suite executives read. For example, I read: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fast Company, the Economist, Accenture Outlook, McKinsey Quarterly, Harvard Business Review, and Sloan Management Review, among others. Every day, important sustainability articles are published.

In virtually every issue of these journals, there is a quotable nugget of information about sustainability / ESG that will impress your C-suite.

True confession: I am on the mailing lists for (free) sustainability journals, including GreenBiz, CR magazine, and a few others. I do glance at them – primarily looking for news of key clients or their competitors. However, I would never quote one of these magazines when talking with a C-suite executive or board member.