1st Edition

The Handbook of Climate Change Leadership in Organisations Developing Leadership for the Age of Sustainability

Edited By Doug MacKie Copyright 2024
    460 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    460 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Climate change is one of the most significant and challenging problems we face today, and many organisations have recognised their responsibility in reducing emissions and environmental degradation and regenerating biodiversity. However, conventional leadership has failed to respond adequately to the magnitude of the threat, and a profound change in corporate leadership is required to substantively cut emissions and change climate policy to minimise further destructive environmental impact. This book sets out the qualities and approaches needed by leaders to successfully develop and implement climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.

    Bringing together the foremost experts in climate change leadership from business, leadership, psychology and coaching backgrounds, this book addresses the failures of current leadership practice and proposes a variety of models of how climate change leadership capabilities can be effectively developed in organisations. It is structured around four concepts: foundations, which includes models of environmental, ecological and evolutionary leadership; transitions, which looks at transformational and ethical models that are being repurposed for the age of sustainability; progressions, which explores innovative models that are being developed for the current age including systems, adaptation and maturity-based models of leadership; and actions, which includes models of sustainable goal setting and climate leadership coaching and development.

    The book is written for corporate leaders, researchers and educators and will be an invaluable addition to the leadership curriculum and executive development programmes to help the next generation of leaders respond to global challenges.


    Georg Kell

    1.     An Introduction to Climate Change Leadership in Organisations  

    Doug MacKie  

    PART I: Foundations  

    2.     From ESG Management to Positive Impact Creation: The Dual Mindset Transformation  

    Katrin Muff  

    3.     Overcoming Cognitive Biases That Contribute to Corporate Climate Change Inertia  

    Anna Eckardt and Daina Mazutis 

    4.     An Evolutionary Perspective on Corporate Sustainability Transitions: A ProSocial Approach  

    Michael P. Schlaile, Alexander Herwix, Kristina Bogner and Paul W.B. Atkins  

    5.     Guidance to Green Action: Environmental Leadership Through the Lens of Evolutionary Psychology  

    Gonzalo Palomo-Vélez and Mark Van Vugt  

    6.     Sustainability Leadership Starts With Our Mindset  

    Isabel Rimanoczy and Beate Klingenberg  

    7.     Ecological Leadership in a Planetary Emergency  

    Christopher D. Ives and Jenny Wilkinson  

    8.     Environmental Leadership Is Contemporary Leadership: State of the Literature and Recommendations  

    Rian Satterwhite  

    PART II: Transitions  

    9.     Green Leadership  

    Talib Karamally and Jennifer L. Robertson  

    10.  Responsible Leadership in the Governance of Managed Retreat: A Place-Based Approach to Climate Change Adaptation  

    Sasha Maher, Brad Jackson, Jonathan Boston and Steve Kempster  

    11.  The Intersection Between Environmental Ethics and Leadership  

    David J. Brown and Robert M. McManus  

    PART III: Progressions  

    12.  We Are Prolonging Unsustainability. Shouldn’t We Save Humanity Instead?  

    Nancy E. Landrum  

    13.  A Systems Perspective on Organisational Leadership for Climate Change: Implications of Viewing Organisations as Complex Adaptive Socio-Technical Systems  

    William Donaldson and Benjamin W. Redekop  

    14.  System Leadership and Climate Change Mitigation  

    Christopher Beehner  

    15.  Adaptation Leadership: A Key Capability for Organisational Innovation  

    Johanna Nalau  

    PART IV: Actions  

    16.  Sustainable Goal Setting for Climate Action: What Leaders Value Defines How They Take Action  

    Donald Eubank  

    17.  Corporate Carbon Targets: The Role of Goal Setting in Driving Organisational Change for Climate Action  

    Frederik Dahlmann  

    18.  Coaching in the Anthropocene  

    Joel A. DiGirolamo  

    19.  Developing Climate Change Leadership in Organisations  

    Doug MacKie  

    20.  Case Study: The Role of Leadership and Enabling Change – Specific to the Cluster and Energy Transition  

    Kevin Reeves and Rik Irons-Mclean  


    Doug MacKie has over 30 years’ experience as an organisational and business psychologist, working in the UK, Europe and Australasia. He has researched and accelerated the development of leadership, team and organisational capability in boards, CEOs and C-Suite executives within many of the top 100 companies in the UK and Australia.

    "The concept of the good ancestor asks how we want our grandchildren’s children to regard us — what was the legacy we left to them? Leaders, in every sphere of life, have the responsibility to be good ancestors and that in today’s world means leading in the context of climate change. In this book, they will find more than exhortation to do the right thing — they will find practical examples of how to lead on climate change. This book is essential reading for any leader wanting to make his or her great-grandchildren proud of them!"

    Professor David Clutterbuck, Special Ambassador, European Mentoring and Coaching Council; visiting professor, Henley Business School; Distinguished Research Fellow, The Conference Board

    "The climate crisis calls for leadership from all of us, meaning we have to get to the edge of our comfort zone and then take one more step. This handbook has something for every leader to support their courage in navigating the unknown, whether by understanding their own cognitive biases or learning how to become a leader of systemic change beyond their own organisation, setting science-based targets or seeing the world as a complex adaptive system."

    Nigel ToppingUN Climate Change High Level Climate Champion,  COP26

    “There is no more urgent question – in the face of a deranged neoliberal technocracy that sometimes seems to have rendered all alternative arrangements unthinkable – than how to find forms of governance and leadership for a world society that can cope with an unprecedented threat to humanity. The chapters in the present volume give grounds for hope that an answer can be found.”

    Professor Richard Little, Visiting Professor, WSB University Warsaw, and Professor of Sustainability Leadership  at Initiative for Leadership & Sustainability, University of Cumbria, UK

    “The interface of climate change and corporate leadership is crucial. This handbook brings together the best thinkers of our time. The volume is a must read for academics and corporate leaders in the field of sustainability.”

    Professor Robert E. QuinnCofounder of the Center for Positive Organizations, University of Michigan Ross School of Business

    “Leadership matters, but ever more so when the leader and led are faced with an enormous crisis. Climate change is such a crisis, and one that requires great leadership to avoid catastrophe. This volume calls on experts across multiple disciplines to help leaders navigate the climate crisis.”

    Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology, Claremont McKenna College

    "We have all the technology, finance and regulatory tools we need to solve for climate change. The only thing stopping us is an effective grasp of psychology and communications. Leadership, delivered differently, is the only way we will make meaningful progress. This book is a critical guide to making this become a reality."

    John O'Brien, Managing Director, Sustainability & Climate, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu