We are pleased to welcome Michael Gabadou to the Edge team as an Associate. Michael brings 30 years of experience in senior executive roles in manufacturing businesses across Asia-Pacific and Europe, including twelve years with Interface, a well-recognised sustainability leader.
We recently had a Q&A with Michael to learn more about his experience in sustainability and what led him to work with Edge.
Tell us about your role at Interface, and how you became part of their sustainability story?
After 20 years in senior executive roles in the traditional “Take-Make-Waste” manufacturing model, I was looking for a better, more balanced and sustainable approach. In 2008, I was lucky enough to join Interface, a leader in manufacturing sustainability. I was with the company for 12 year, firstly as the Operations Director for Asia-Pacific, managing plants in China, Thailand and Australia and then as Managing Director for Australia-New Zealand for the last three years.
I played a key leadership role in developing sustainability strategies at a global level and executed plans for Interface Mission Zero (eliminate environmental impact by 2020) and Climate Take Back (going carbon negative) missions in the APAC region.
Based on your experience there, what would be your number one tip for companies that are looking to embed sustainability in their DNA?
It isn’t easy to come up with only one tip, but I think the key lesson is “ambitious and genuine leadership with successful engagement of the workforce”. These two components are the key to success.
Ambition will lead to stretched and motivating targets, while genuine commitment will ensure the objectives stick through the highs and lows that businesses experience. It will also be a key contributor to strong employee engagement and external stakeholders support.
Genuine leadership and workforce engagement will ensure the organisation’s culture reflects the sustainability ethos and drive, create more collaborative internal communication and help the business attract the right talent for the future.
An engaged workforce will unleash the innovative and creative capability of the organisation and lead to positive and effective sustainability collaboration with customers, suppliers and other external stakeholders.
What attracted you to the idea of working in an Associate capacity with the team here at Edge?
I have made it my purpose to share my knowledge and experience to support organisations to reach their full potential as they integrate ambitious sustainability objectives in their business strategy. Companies like Interface have demonstrated that fully integrating ESG in the business strategy will help the business perform better.
I have known Edge Environment for a number of years and always found their genuine culture, enthusiastic passion, deep knowledge and science-based approach to match very well with my beliefs. I strongly believe that my experience of successfully managing and understanding all dimensions of a business can bring a complimentary dimension to Edge’s consultants in their dialogue with existing and potential clients.
Executives in particular look to partner with consultants that will understand how the ESG project needs to fit in with their business perspective. I believe I can help create that connection and understanding.
What do you see as the main opportunities to help us accelerate our clients’ sustainability journeys?
Very few organisations understand the business benefits of fully integrating ESG into all dimensions of their business strategy and practices, not just the cost savings, but the innovations, new products or services and sales growth, positive engagement of their workforce, stronger brand image and differentiation with their customers and becoming a sought-after employer of choice.
Most organisations miss a lot of those benefits by approaching sustainability through a couple of small tactical projects, often handled at lower level in the organisation and/or limited to a small group rather than engaging their whole organisation on a journey.
Therefore, I believe a key opportunity for Edge is to aim to elevate the conversation with their clients to executive or board level and assist them in assessing, in business terms, the strategic dimension and potential of ESG for their organisation.
Edge has all the knowledge, experience and understanding to assist their clients in developing a broader ESG scope within a business strategy framework. Hopefully my involvement – and the experience I bring of working in senior leadership roles – will be the icing on the cake.
To view Michael’s profile and get in touch, head over to our Team page here: