VIDEO – Climate strategies: promoting equitable leadership

HomeBusinessVIDEO - Climate strategies: promoting equitable leadership

Kenya Nicol

During the Women’s Forum in Paris, Béatrice Cornacchia, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communication for Europe at Mastercard, along with Claire Waysand, Executive Vice President and Secretary General at ENGIE, and Elizabeth Tchoungui, Executive Vice President of CSR at Orange, discussed the importance of balancing leadership in addressing the climate crisis. They were in conversation with Leila Toplic, Communication Manager for Carbonfuture.

Diversifying leadership for a better ecological transition

Diversity extends to the representation of women in climate dialogue, an aspect often overlooked. Companies are witnessing a significant increase in women’s presence in key sustainability-related positions. In the United States, women now hold 54% of Sustainability Manager positions, compared to 28% in 2011. Additionally, women’s representation in sustainability leadership positions increased from 39% to 63% between 2011 and 2020.

Beatrice Cornacchia, Mastercard

“Inclusive finance is a very important topic, and it is at the heart of Mastercard’s action. We are committed to including 1 billion people, including 25 million small businesses led by women. It is crucial to provide the right financial support to these small businesses,” explains Béatrice Cornacchia. The financial sector plays a crucial role in promoting diversity and sustainability.

“We need to ensure that we have enough women, both in operations and in leadership. This is true for boards of directors as well. We are fortunate in France to have the Copé-Zimmerman law. I believe these are factors that enable the inclusion of women and more diversity,” details Claire Waysand.

Climate impact on women worldwide

“Women are disproportionately affected by climate change. I would add, women and girls. In some places, they are in charge of agriculture, finding food, water, and sometimes fuel. And every time a woman is busier with these things, and this is happening due to climate change, it makes her life more difficult because she devotes more energy to it.” This also means that girls “probably won’t go to school,” warns Claire Waysand.

Ecology, a subject concerning everyone

Digital technology also plays a crucial role in promoting diversity and sustainability. Elizabeth Tchoungui emphasizes that “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is profoundly transformative. It is not an easy task; it is the most transformative process for companies today.” Alexandra Soto, Chief Operating Officer at Lazard, acknowledges the connection between sustainability and gender diversity but emphasizes that “these are two different subjects. As women, we run a great risk of confusing the two. Ecological sustainability is not a women’s issue; it concerns everyone.”

Empowering women through technology

In the energy sector, female leadership is essential to accelerate the energy transition. For this, Elizabeth Tchoungui encourages women to empower themselves by embracing digital literacy, “How can we continue to face challenges such as climate change without digital technology? And the problem is that women hold only 24% of positions in digital technology. In green technologies, for example, only 22% of women work on algorithms.”

Claire Waysand concludes, “We all have the power to change, the power to vote, the power to influence the pace of things.”

The Women’s Voices is proud to be a partner of the “Women’s Forum.” As in previous years, the event aims to strengthen the presence of women and gender diversity in all positions of power in society. The Forum highlights projects that promote gender equality through education or parity in the workplace.

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