Conference Board maverick driving sustainability change

Anuj Saush of the historic sustainability body The Conference Board is an agent for positive change in a world riven with disruption and discord

Anuj Saush is a man whose impeccable sustainability credentials helped land a key role at one of the most influential sustainability organisations in the US: The Conference Board (TCB).

TBC is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. The organisation was founded in 1916 as the National Industrial Conference Board, as a way to cool explosive tensions between labour and management at that time.

But in Europe, TBC is a fairly well-kept secret – something that Belgium-based Saush is striving to change.

Saush is the TCB’s Governance & Sustainability Centre Leader and, as such, works with some of the world’s biggest companies, who are members. 

“It’s a place where chartered environmentalists can make an impact,” says Saush, who brings drive and ambition to his role. 

Passion for sustainability stems from India

His passion for sustainability comes from his upbringing in India, where power cuts, water scarcity, and the need to live within one's means shaped him. 

After gaining a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy from the London School of Economics, Saush decided to make it his life’s work to align business and sustainability objectives. 

“I’m ambitious, driven, and passionate in equal measure,” he says. “And I’d say I’m also something of a maverick. While others around me have made comfortable careers, I’ve continually sought change.”

In his early career, he took roles in environment consulting. “This taught me to use my solutions-focused mindset to help solve clients’ problems,” he says.

When one of his recommendations – to start a new sustainable product line – became a huge revenue generator for a client, he understood the powerful impact that individual conversations can have.  

“Consulting naturally led to corporate roles,” he says. “This was a different challenge to the one I left behind, but equally motivating.” 

Advocating change in the face of profits is tough

He says that, at times, it has been difficult advocating environmental change in the face of healthy profits but says this remains his driving ambition “for the sake of the companies I work with and also the planet”. 

He adds: “It was my desire for change that brought me to TCB. Its mission is to be a trusted source of insight, with a view to helping members to anticipate change, improve their performance, and better serve society. This aligns perfectly with my own mission to create positive change.” 

In his work, Saush helps senior executives think through the sustainability changes they need to make to remain relevant in the future. 

“I also have a background in behavioural psychology,” he says, “and I believe that every conversation has the power to enable positive change.” 

Businesses leaders are facing tough choices

In the context of both digital and climate transition, there are multiple challenges facing business leaders, but Saush remains optimistic for the future.

“The way I see it, every challenge is also an opportunity. It is just about making the right choices. I believe that every business leader needs both a microscope and a pair of binoculars – the microscope to examine and understand the problems, and binoculars to chart the course ahead.” 

He concludes: “Sustainability is a team sport. We need everyone to be on board.”

And perhaps a maverick or two to lead the way.

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