The Global Association of Corporate Sustainability Officers (GACSO) is seeking to define and establish a lexicon of sustainability terms in order to build understanding of this ‘business critical’ agenda within the profession, in business and across wider occupations and sectors.

With today’s launch of its White Paper, Defining Corporate Sustainability, GACSO aims to create debate and direction on the under-pinning and developing language used by the profession. The White Paper also calls for wider contributions, building understanding and appreciation of the transformative ‘corporate sustainability' agenda.

The concept emerged at an event held in April to cement GACSO’s new relationship with IEMA. Entitled “A transformative collaboration for global sustainability”, leading sustainability professionals who attended identified the need for a common lexicon to support and build shared understanding between professionals and wider stakeholders interested in the challenge of corporate sustainability. This process is also crucial in supporting the “professionalisation” of Corporate Sustainability, a key aim for GACSO and IEMA. Taking this necessity on board, Defining Corporate Sustainability has been developed, written and launched in collaboration between GACSO and IEMA members.

Commenting on the initiative, Francis Sullivan, GACSO founding member and Deputy Head of Global Corporate Sustainability at HSBC today said: “An engagement process to build understanding around corporate sustainability is an excellent initiative for GACSO and IEMA. I would encourage anyone interested in corporate sustainability from Chief Sustainability Officers to HR professionals to read this White Paper and to contribute their thoughts.”

“The sustainability landscape needs focus and agreement – GACSO and IEMA are now well placed to catalyse this debate to provide clarity around the role sustainability professionals play in supporting long term business success.”

To ensure the White Paper achieves its objectives GACSO and IEMA are now seeking feedback on proposals raised by Defining Corporate Sustainability, engaging widely with their members and with other interested parties.. This will include four regional workshops during the summer giving professionals the opportunity to explore and develop the sustainability lexicon and to build focus and agreement around the challenge of corporate sustainability. Any individual or organisation interested in contributing to this developing initiative or in finding out more about the future of GACSO are invited to submit comments, suggestions or proposals to

Click here to download a copy of Defining Corporate Sustainability.