Men still dominate CSR, at least at the higher levels. GreenBiz's 2011 salary survey found that two-thirds of VP of Sustainability roles at large organizations are held by men - and it will surprise few readers to find that there was a 20 percent pay gap between men and women at the highest levels of sustainability.
Yet, the connection between gender diversity and CSR runs deep. Study after research study has found that simply having an executive team with gender diversity is highly correlated with having a strong CSR performance - even when those women aren't working in CSR.
And of course, despite the statistics, we've come across a number of inspirational women slowly but steadily inspiring sustainable change. Here are 35 of them. To keep things reasonable we limited ourselves to CSR leaders within organizations - those women cranking out the CSR strategy and CSR reports who you don't get to hear from very often. We also threw in a few thought leaders to round out the list. There are many more, of course. You should probably give these ladies a raise!
In alphabetical order and without further ado...
1. Pamela Alabaster, SVP Corporate Communications, Sustainable Development & Public Affairs, L'Oreal USA Pamela leads the CSR function for L'Oreal USA. L'Oreal was recently lauded by 3p correspondent Leon Kaye for their beautiful CSR report which goes far beyond skin deep.
2. Ephi Banaynal dela Cruz, Director, Social and Environmental Accountability (SEA) and Audit,
Microsoft Corporation Ephi was recently tapped to head Microsoft's hardware supply chain, Social and Environmental Accountability and Audit program. Microsoft scooped her up from SAP where she led sustainability strategy and developed a stunning, in-depth CSR report.
3. Mary Capozzi, Senior Director, Sustainability/Corporate Responsibility, Best Buy For five years, Mary has led the CSR team at Best Buy, spearheading initiatives like Best Buy's innovative Buy Back Program.
4. Molly Cartmill, Director - Corporate Social Responsibility, Sempra Energy Molly directs and manages the corporate responsibility reporting function at Sempra Energy, including production of the company’s annual corporate responsibility report.
5. Ginny Cassidy, Corporate Citizenship Consultant, Medtronic Medtronic sets the bar extremely high for sustainability reporting and Ginny has managed their Corporate Citizenship Report project and related corporate citizenship communications for over six years.
6. Robin Connell, Manager, Sustainability Programs, Del Monte Foods Robin is responsible for the overall development and implementation of Del Monte Foods' sustainability strategy and initiatives.
7. Tamara "TJ" Dicaprio, Sr. Director, Carbon and Energy, Microsoft Corporation TJ drives Microsoft’s environmental strategy by establishing the long term environmental footprint reduction and renewable energy strategy.
8. Jacqueline Drumheller, Environmental Affairs Manager, Alaska Air In 2008, Jaqueline co-founded Alaska Airlines' corporate sustainability program and she is currently responsible for the corporate sustainability, environmental audit, and data management programs at Alaska Air and Horizon Air.
9. Jennifer Dudgeon, Principal Program Manager, Office of Sustainability, CA Technologies CA Technologies, a public IT management software and solutions firm, provides sustainability software to its clients, among other products. Jennifer is responsible for the development and execution of the company’s sustainability strategy.
10. Karen Hamilton, Vice President, Sustainability, Unilever Unilever has made a huge splash on the sustainability scene this year, thanks to bold proclamations from CEO Paul Polman. Karen is a key member of the sustainability leadership at Unilever, based in London.
11. Laura Hodgson, Director, Social Responsibility, Nordstrom Laura manages the team and program dedicated to improving working conditions in global sourcing communities.
12. Catherine Gunsbury, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, General Mills Catherine leads the CSR reporting efforts at General Mills. We recently sat down with her to talk about her role and General Mills' approach to sustainability.
13. Joanne Howard, Manager of Sustainability, Spectra Energy Corp Joanne manages and guides the implementation of enterprise sustainability practices at Spectra and creates a platform for the ongoing integration of these practices as part of Spectra’s business strategy.
14. Hannah Jones, VP of Sustainable Business & Innovation, Nike, Inc. Hannah stewards the Nike, Inc. sustainability strategy and leads the Sustainable Business & Innovation team.
15. Cecily Joseph, Senior Director, Corporate Responsibility & Compliance, Symantec Corporation Cecily oversees Symantec's Office of Ethics & Compliance, the Symantec Foundation, Community Relations and Symantec's global corporate social responsibility program, which includes environmental, social, and governance program development, integration, and alignment.
16. Gail Klintworth, CSO, Unilever Gail Klintworth has been with Unilever for over 25 years, including a stint as chief executive of Unilever South Africa. She's currently Chief Sustainability Officer and is responsible for driving Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan.
17. Hunter Lovins, President and Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions Hunter was called a "green business icon" by Newsweek and a millennium "Hero of the Planet" by Time Magazine for her 30 years of work framing the sustainability movement, setting forth the business case for energy efficiency, renewable energy and resource productivity and climate protection. She is president and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions and co-creator of the “Natural Capitalism” concept.
18. Annie Longsworth, CEO, Saatchi and Saatchi S Annie is CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi S, the sustainability arm of the global communications and consulting firm committed to creating lovemarks - high love, high respect brands and products.
19. Kim Marotta, Director of Sustainability, MillerCoors Kim has a multi-faceted role with the MillerCoors - the second largest beer company in the U.S. She is the sustainability brand manager, oversees sustainability reporting and policy, and also focuses on energy and water stewardship.
20. Jennifer Mattes, Director, Global Public Affairs, Johnson Controls, Inc. For the past five years, Jennifer has been responsible for global public affairs including sustainability reporting, global employee volunteer programs, and global philanthropy for one of the world's leading green building and energy efficiency companies.
21. Marilee McInnis, Senior Manager, Southwest Airlines Marilee founded the SWA green team and now manages the sustainability programs for SWA, including producing the ONE report - the company's integrated report on the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet.
22. Susan McPherson, SVP/Director of Global Marketing, Fenton Fenton is a communications firm with a unique mission: to serve the public interest by creating powerful issue campaigns that make change, and Susan runs the CSR practice. She's also the leader of the popular weekly #csrchat on Twitter.
23. Bonnie Nixon, Senior Advisor, Sustainability Roundtable, Inc. Bonnie has 25 years of experience in this industry, including three years as the Director of Sustainability for HP and a stint as Executive Director of The Sustainability Consortium.
24. Beatriz Perez, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Coca-Cola Company Beatriz sets the overarching sustainability policies and strategies at The Coca-Cola Company and generates leadership systems around them.
25. Agata Ramallo Garcia, Senior Director, Sustainable Business & Innovation, Nike Inc. Agata is responsible for leading the integration of sustainable business practices in business operations across Nike, Inc. She oversees Sustainable Business & Innovation's strategic/business planning processes including the financial valuation of sustainability initiatives, sustainability performance management and reporting, sustainability data and analytics, and sustainable innovation portfolio/pipeline.
26. Stephanie Rico, VP, Environmental Affairs, Wells Fargo Stephanie is the lead for sustainability and environmental issues at Wells Fargo, including environmental and CSR reporting, communications and marketing.
27. Laura Rubbo, Director, Corporate Citizenship, The Walt Disney Company Laura manages the International Labor Standards department’s global factory monitoring program, external stakeholder engagement strategy, broad policy development, and creation of executive briefings and external communication materials, including the ethical sourcing section of the Corporate Citizenship report.
28. Beth Sauerhaft, Director, Global Environmental Sustainability, Pepsico In her role, Beth focuses on the connection between environment, agriculture, and health and nutrition policy. Her team has a unique approach to CSR - focusing on opportunities and risks presented by social and environmental issues.
29. Shauna Sadowski, Director of Sustainability, Annie's, Inc. Shawna leads the gourmet organic mac and cheese company's sustainability efforts including tracking and analysis and the development and implementation of programs to ensure that the company abides by its philosophy to source from trustworthy people and places they trust.
30. Kathleen Shaver, Director, Corporate Responsibility, Mattel Kathleen leads strategy and execution of Mattel’s public reporting of corporate responsibility initiatives.
31. Aman Singh, Editorial Director, CSRwire Aman directs content creation, distribution and syndication for CSRwire, a leading digital media platform for CSR and sustainability news, views and research.
32. Koann Vikoren Skrzyniarz, Founder/Chief Executive, Sustainable Brands Koann conceived of, launched and continues to grow Sustainable Brands - a learning, collaboration, and commerce community which now includes over 50,000 sustainable business leaders from around the globe.
33. Karen Solomon, Co-Founder & Advisor, Opportunity Green Media Karen is the co-founder and advisor to Opportunity Green, a multi-purpose media, event and consulting platform promoting innovative products, technologies and companies.
34. Andrea Thomas, SVP, Sustainability, Walmart Although many critique Walmart, it's clear that the super store retailer has changed the very meaning of CSR. Andrea leads Walmart's sustainability efforts.
35. Kindley Walsh-Lawlor, VP Social & Environmental Responsibility, Gap Inc. Kindley is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to further integrate social and environmental objectives into the company's Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy brands.
Special thanks to Nancy Mancilla, CEO of ISOS Group, an integrated sustainability agency specializing in GRI sustainability reporting, CDP climate change reporting and external assurance, for suggesting many of the names on this list. She's a rock star sustainability leader in her own right!
This isn't an exhaustive list by any means. Share the female CSR leaders you know in the comments!
Jen Boynton is the former Editor-in-Chief of TriplePundit. She has an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and has helped organizations including SAP, PwC and Fair Trade USA with their sustainability communications messaging. She is based in San Diego, California. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA (court appointed special advocate) for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with toddlers and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.