Developing Sustainable Leadership

The impact of the global Covid-19 crisis on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues.

What to focus on to support better decision-making

Why almost a third of HR and L&D leaders do not understand their organisation’s ESG policies

The greatest benefits of implementing ESG policies 


What you will learn

A business shouldn't have to choose between profit and purpose. But what does it take to get it right?


In conducting this research, Headspring has complemented field interviews with analysis and commentary from faculty, leading thinkers, academics, journalists and practitioners. 

The goal of this report is to prepare senior leaders to support their business through some of the most significant shifts in the history of business.

Key Insights

Guiding Principles

Understanding the Impact

Learn how the industry sees the impact of ESG on business.

How to navigate towards sustainable and responsible business.

Why HR and L&D are critical to the development of sustainable leadership


Understanding your role in a new world

As well as mastering strategy and finance, business leaders today need to demonstrate they can do the right thing when it comes to their people and to major social, political and environmental issues.

The Covid-19 crisis has made this clearer than ever. In this process, HR and L&D functions have become crucial to business survival and the growth of sustainable leadership.

As with Covid-19, ESG issues are ultimately defined by their effects on people. It is crucial, then, that those responsible for the development of leaders and people within organisations play an important role in how companies emerge from the global pandemic.

Headspring, the executive development joint venture of the Financial Times and IE Business School, recently interviewed more than 350 senior HR and L&D executives from large corporations in Europe and the Middle East.

Our goal: to better understand how prepared CHRO, CLOs, directors and HoDs are for the development that is required in the domains of sustainable leadership.

85% of HR & L&D leaders believe ESG should be a business priority

61% see ESG as as a strategic way to adapt to change, improve employee relations and reputation

85% of surveyed businesses have learning programmes to support leaders through change 


Headspring is a joint venture of the Financial Times and IE Business School. Together, we bring a unique blend of business insight, expertise, business acumen, leading academic faculty and a global network of educators to co-create customised corporate learning and executive development programmes – in multiple languages, to almost any sector, anywhere in the world.

The expertise of the Financial Times

The innovation of IE Business School

The FT has been the guide to business for more than 125 years, recognised internationally for it’s authority, integrity and accuracy. Our FT journalists are close to the source. They know the facts before they become news, helping our clients to stay one step ahead. They understand the big political, economic and technological trends as well as the small details of policy that can make or break a business.

From its foundation, IE Business School have made it their business to disrupt. A triple accredited institution, it offers the world’s number one distance online MBA (QS, 2017) and the 3rd ranked non-US MBA in the world (Forbes, 2017). Through technological immersion and a culture of innovation, IE brings and entrepreneurial mindset that gives our programmes a sharper edge and greater impact.


Start reading now


Copyright © 2020 Headspring Executive Development by Financial Times and IE Business School | All rights reserved