Jack McAneny - Director of Global Sustainability at Procter and Gamble

Jack McAneny - Director of Global Sustainability at Procter and Gamble

Jack McAneny, Director of Global Sustainability, has been with P&G for 20 years.  During that time, he has had a variety of assignments in the Health, Safety & Environment and Technical External Relations functions. In his current role, he coordinates P&G’s Environmental Sustainability efforts. Prior to joining P&G, Jack worked for the Federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration as an Industrial Hygiene Compliance Officer.

Jack Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Leading sustainability in a multinational corporation

  • Science based targets for sustainability goals

  • P & G's Forest Positive initiative

  • 2030 goals including 100% renewable energy and 50% reduction in GHG emissions

  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Jack's Final Five Responses:

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

I think the one thing that I would offer would be really building and maintaining your networks internally and externally. That's not advice that would be unique to sustainability professionals. Right? I'd probably give that to anybody entering the private sector, but I do think it's especially important for folks who are playing in the sustainability space, especially folks who might be in more of a corporate or oversight role. And the reason I say that is we work really, really hard to embed ownership of sustainability into the business and into the line organization so it becomes a way that we just do business. And so, as a consequence of that, it's not like we have a large corporate sustainability staff and we get a lot of our work done and manage by influence. Having robust networks can really be a powerful tool in terms of influencing. I'm not talking about having 10,000 connections on your LinkedIn profile. I'm really talking about a very strategic, deliberate and proactive approach of understanding who you need to develop relationships with and who you need to maintain them with. Certainly that applies internally, but also externally. So, I would just encourage folks to really spend some time thinking about their networks internally and externally, and the role that they play in advancing their work.

What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

This theme of collaboration. I think more and more people are coming to recognize that if we're really going to address these big issues like climate change, deforestation and solid waste and you name it, those are things that are bigger than any one company. They're bigger sometimes than any one country. So, we know if we're going to drive change at scale, it's going to require collaboration, not just amongst industry but also across governments, civil society and the private sector. Now we're seeing some examples of that here in the US, you have the closed loop front and you see organizations like the Trash Free Seas Alliance that are helping to build collaborative efforts. I think more and more folks are coming to that realization and I really do think that's going to be key to really tackling some of these big thorny issues. I'm just excited to see momentum building behind that approach.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

That's a tough one because there are so many good ones out there. There's lots of good ones out there that talk about how you build the business case and pragmatic case studies, which I've enjoyed. There've been books out there around reinforcing the importance of the work we do. I think the one that I would offer is a book by an author named Lee Thompson. She is a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and she wrote a book called The Truth About Negotiations. We don't really think about it a lot of time in these terms. We think about the importance of trying to integrate sustainability into the business, and as I think about going to talk to a business leader who has P&L responsibility for a large business or a large brand, typically I'm they're asking for resources, asking for people, money, time or to share a voice or a commitment. These folks who are leading these businesses have finite resources and they have lots of people coming to them asking for very important help and assistance. So, you don't think about that as a negotiation for resources, but I found a lot of tips and tricks in that book, The Truth About Negotiations, that I found helpful. So, that is one that has a proven helpful for me.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

For me, it's anything that helps bring the outside in. I think part of my job, and I suspect the job of many sustainability professionals out there, is understanding what's going on externally today and what we can expect in the future, in terms of some of these big sustainability trends. Bringing that perspective into your organization to help inform decision making and to help develop strategy. Having those resources that bring you that external perspective can be incredibly important. So whether it's news feeds or industry associations or peer groups that you're a part of. I think it's anything that helps bring that outside in has proven helpful. Now obviously depending on your category, your business sector, your, role, you might need to specify those to more topical areas. But beyond that, I would encourage folks to make sure that you have one or two of these, whether their news feeds or subscription services, that give you that really broad view across both environmental and social space in terms of current trends and events, because it's really important to maintain that broad perspective. It has helped me connect dots that I wouldn't otherwise normally have seen. So yes, it's important to be topical and focus, but it's also important to keep that broad view because it helps you from developing blind spots.

Finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work you're leading at P&G?

Yeah, they can go to pg.com/citizenship. As I mentioned before, we operate against a very broad citizenship framework, environmental sustainability as a part of that. If they go there they can see our most recent citizenship report and have just some great examples of the work that we're trying to do. I think more importantly, given who your target audience is Josh, it'll help folks understand where we're focused and what we're trying to do, and if folks see potential linkages our synergies there, we certainly would welcome any thoughts or ideas that they may have.