Did you ever wonder what it is like to be in the shoes of a sustainability director of a Fortune 500 company? John Viera, Global Sustainability Director of Ford, provided an inside peek in the below podcast. Since 2007, he has been the Global Director, Sustainability and Vehicle Environmental Matters for Ford Motor Company. As Viera explained every sustainability step has to be cloaked in “economic goodness” for management buy in.
A Hudson Gain Study revealed that an effective sustainability director must have passion, clear vision, organizational respect, tenacity and emotional intelligence. It was clearly evident during our conversation that Viera possesses those skill sets.
During his 27 year tenure prior to being the sustainability director, he has held several position at Ford: worked in company’s Truck Division, Plant Engineering Manager for Vehicle Team for the Explorer and Mountaineer; Chief Engineer of the Ranger Compact Pick-up and Electric Ranger ; Chief Engineer of the Expedition and Navigator Full Size SUVs. Most impressively, in 2002, he directed the mid-term cost reduction initiative and along with his team saved the Company $1.2 billion.
One of the challenges that Viera faced at the onset is the belief that sustainability was philanthropic rather than economic based. However, he points to his knowledge of operations which helped the adoption of the sustainable strategies.
What you will learn in the podcast:
- How he was successful in gaining management buy-in
- Advice on best practices in hiring a sustainability director
- How to make sustainability more than window dressing
- Advice for other green champions at companies that may not have upper level management support
- Creative ways to make sense of sustainability initiatives
- Showing success to push stubborn management to come aboard a strategy
- His personal three proudest accomplishments during his tenure as a sustainability director. Two are environmental and one is social. Listen to John explain Ford’s Human Rights Code.
- Five year sustainability wish list outlook
- Advice for other sustainability directors
As a five year veteran of sustainability, John’s insight is invaluable to other sustainability directors and green champions. From our discussion, Viera is not one who will rest on past accomplishments and will continue to push the sustainability pendulum.
Join the Conversation:
- What were your favorite take aways from the podcast?
- What are your thoughts about Ford’s sustainability strategy?
Images courtesy of Ford Motor Company