10th February 2021 | Conference

GreenBiz 21 – Let’s Talk About Sustainability Burnout


From responding to the deluge of “rating and ranking” surveys, to setting increasingly aggressive and wide-ranging goals and targets, the expectations placed on sustainability leaders have always been high––especially when compared to departmental budgets.

Then COVID-19 happened. And a racial justice reckoning. And climate-induced wildfires. And a wildly polarizing election.

Over the past year, many sustainability leaders––particularly those with terms like “Health and Safety” or “Diversity and Inclusion” incorporated into their titles––have taken on an entire new job’s worth of responsibilities. Meanwhile, many are attempting to balance remote work with staying healthy, managing childcare, and all the other responsibilities of a “new normal.”

The result has been a slew of early retirements, career pivots, extended leaves of absence, and resignations from sustainability experts across sectors. The risks to companies from these departures are enormous – institutional memory and relationships are lost. Team morale erodes. New program champions have to be cultivated. Issue expertise has to be outsourced or re-hired.

In this session, we’ll ask the question – are we losing our movement’s greatest leaders by asking too much of them? And if so, what can be done about “sustaina-burnout”?

Participants will hear from corporate leaders with first-hand burnout experiences and those who have “made it through,” as well as experts examining the intersections between purpose-driven work and mental health. Then, panelists will engage in a dynamic discussion with participants – sharing experiences, best practices, and new ideas for improving workplace mental health, work-life balance, and employee well-being within the sustainability community. Participants will have a chance to exchange burnout antidotes, and even test drive some suggestions from panelists who have fought burnout and won.

Kellen Klein from Future500 and Shannon Houde from Walk of Life Coaching will be co-hosting this roundtable session to be held at 2:00pm PT.


10th February 2021