Embedding Project

The Embedding Project is a collaboration between leading global researchers in the area of embedding sustainability and a set of leading global firms undertaking pioneering work on embedding sustainability.

At the heart of the project sits a framework for Embedding Sustainability that allows companies to assess their efforts and benchmark themselves against their peers. The Embedding Project also facilitates the exchange of cutting edge knowledge by bringing together an international community of practitioners facilitated and supported by researchers to enable the gathering and analysis of rich data on the practices and processes of embedding as well as co-creating a set of rigorously derived, yet practically relevant tools such as guidebooks, workbooks, self-assessments, workshops and webinars.

Please visit www.embeddingproject.org if you would like to find out more.

Steering Committee

Ronan Chester

Manager, Strategic Environmental Initiatives at Port of Vancouver

Ronan Chester is responsible for leading programs and projects related to air emissions, energy conservation and social responsibility across the Port of Vancouver. Ronan is a Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP), Envision Infrastructure Sustainability Professional (ENV SP), and holds a Master’s Degree in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability.

Ronan led a multi-stakeholder initiative to define what sustainability means for the port, and integrated this into the port’s long term scenario planning process. He also led the development of the port’s sustainability reporting program, establishing Port of Vancouver among the first ports globally to meet international standards on sustainability reporting. Other examples of Ronan’s work include the Port of Vancouver emissions inventory program, the EcoAction Program for Ships, the Energy Action Initiative in partnership with BC Hydro, the Non Road Diesel Emissions Initiative, the Climate Smart Initiative, and the expansion of shore power to container terminals.


Gigi Dawe

Principal and Leader, Corporate Oversight and Governance at CPA Canada

Gigi Dawe is a corporate governance thought-leader and educator for companies, and individuals responsible for the oversight of organizations. Gigi has extensive knowledge in corporate governance structure and is an authority on board performance, strategy and risk oversight. Gigi has created and produced public forums, presentations and guidance publications through the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. A leader in corporate governance with a pragmatic and strategic approach, Gigi has been a member of boards throughout her career. Currently, she is on the advisory board for Women Get on Board and board committees for the International Federations of Accountants and the International Corporate Governance Network. Gigi has a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School.


Dr. Ralph Hamann

Professor and Research Director at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

Ralph holds a Research Chair at the UCT African Climate and Development Initiative. He teaches on business sustainability, social innovation, and cross-sector collaboration, and he is an executive editor of Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development. Among his other roles, Ralph is founder and academic director of the Network for Business Sustainability (South Africa). He is also co-founder and chair of the Southern Africa Food Lab, for which he received UCT’s Distinguished Social Responsiveness Award.

Ralph has been a visiting researcher, teacher, or consultant at a range of organizations in Africa, Asia, and Europe, including diverse business schools and universities, listed and unlisted companies, governments, and international agencies such as the World Bank and GIZ. Much of Ralph’s tertiary training was in environmental science at UCT, and he has a PhD on corporate responsibility in the South African mining sector from the University of East Anglia (UEA).


Dr. Andy Hoffman

Holcim (US), Inc. Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan and Education Director of the Graham Sustainability Institute

Professor Hoffman’s research uses organizational behavior models and theories to understand the cultural and institutional aspects of environmental issues for organizations. In this work, he focuses on the processes by which environmental issues both emerge and evolve as social, political and managerial issues. He also writes about the role of academic scholars in public and political discourse. He has served on numerous research committees for the National Academies of Science, the Johnson Foundation, the Climate Group, the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development and the Environmental Defense Fund. Prior to academics, Andy worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 1), Metcalf & Eddy Environmental Consultants, T&T Construction & Design and the Amoco Corporation. Andy serves on advisory boards for ecoAmerica, Next Era Renewable Energy Trust, SustainAbility, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, the Center for Environmental Innovation and the Stanford Social Innovation Review.


Dr. Jennifer Howard-Grenville

Diageo Professor in Organisation Studies and Director of the PhD Programme, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge

Jennifer contributes to organization theory through in-depth studies of how people work from within to change organizations, communities, and occupations. She is recognized as a leading qualitative researcher with a focus on process theorizing, and frequently presents on these topics at business schools, conferences and junior scholar academies.

Dr Howard-Grenville’s work has been published in Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Academy of Management AnnalsOrganization Studies, Research PolicyJournal of Industrial Ecology and several other journals. She is the author of Corporate Culture and Environmental Practice (Edward Elgar, 2007), and co-author or editor of three other books. Jennifer was previously Associate Professor of Management at the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business, and served as Associate Editor of the Academy of Management Journal (2013-2016). She serves as an Editorial Review Board Member of the Academy of Management Journal (since 2010), Organization Science (2009-2013), and Organization & Environment (since 2011).


Nathan Maycher

Director, Energy, Climate Change Policy & Strategy at Suncor Energy

Nathan is a professional engineer, currently fulfilling the role of Director, Energy, Climate Change Policy & Strategy at Suncor Energy, an integrated energy company strategically focused on developing Canada’s Athabasca oil sands. In this capacity, Nathan leads the climate change team, which holds accountability for climate strategy and policy advocacy. Nathan is dedicated to long term carbon risk management for the entire company.

Formerly, Nathan held the roles of Director, Environment and SD Systems, and Manager Sustainable Development at ConocoPhillips Canada. His teams held accountability for strategic sustainability projects, environmental strategy and policy advocacy, external reporting and SD risk management. Nathan focused on embedding sustainability behavior, systems and processes across the company. Prior to this, Nathan was the Senior Manager in the Sustainable Development department at TransAlta — a Canadian based electricity generation company. Nathan also worked as a Principal at Enwest Inc. — a consulting company that delivered pragmatic solutions to the energy sector.


Vanessa Otto-Mentz

Head of Group Strategy Unit, Santam Insurance

Vanessa is an experienced international professional with a background in finance (CA(SA)), enterprise risk & governance; and a track record as a strategic change practitioner. Her current focus is on contextual strategy practices, systemic risk & resilience, and sustainable business.

As Head of Group Strategy Unit at Santam, Vanessa is responsible for the executive strategy process in the office of the CE. She also sits on the board of the UNEP FI Principles for Sustainable Insurance and is a member of the UNEP FI Regional Task Force for Africa and the Middle East. Vanessa is also involved in academic work. She is a virtual faculty member at the University of Stellenbosch Business school, where she teaches the Strategic Management MBA module, and a part-time lecturer at USB Executive Development Ltd, where she works with the Business in Society team to help leaders and managers make sense of sustainable competitiveness.


Esther Speck

VP Sustainability, lululemon athletica

Esther has extensive experience providing strategic sustainability consulting to some of the world’s leading outdoor athletic brands. She also has advisory experience across sectors, from tourism to financial to real estate. Prior to her role at lululemon, Esther was Head of Business Sustainability with Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) for six years, preceded by three years as a Board Member. As a Board member, Esther co-championed MEC’s Futures Project, fostering longer term thinking and value creation through the use of scenarios. As management, Esther built on this work by developing and leading MEC’s next level sustainability strategy.

Esther sits on various boards, is an associate with the Natural Step Canada, and is a frequent speaker on sustainability strategy, integration and culture. She was recently recognized with the Clean16 Outstanding Contributor to Clean Capitalism 2015 award. Esther holds an MBA and a Master of Applied Science in Resource and Environmental Management (MRM). She has also completed certificate programs in cooperative economics and in leadership.