Congratulations to UPS CFO Kurt Kuehn, who was named a winner of the 2013 C.K. Prahalad Global Sustainability Leadership Award on Monday, June 24th!
Presented annually by the Corporate Eco Forum, the award recognizes exceptional, globally-significant private sector action that exemplifies the fundamental connection between sustainability, innovation and long-term business success in a globalizing world.
Kuehn is a sustainability pioneer – an unusual distinction for a Chief Financial Officer of a Fortune 500 company. He was one of the first prominent CFOs in the world to articulate how and why sustainability is fundamental to a company’s financial success. In so doing, Kuehn has helped redefine the job description of the modern day CFO.
For over a decade, Kuehn has helped shape UPS’s sustainability strategy and guide the company to the leadership position it holds today. In 2002, Kuehn was instrumental in the publication of UPS’s first corporate sustainability report. Today, through its robust reporting and assurance processes, UPS is among the most transparent companies in the world when it comes to sustainability.
But Kuehn does not just see sustainability as an exercise in data collection and disclosure. He also sees it as a brand investment strategy, a sign of innovation, and a signal that a company has a holistic approach to risk mitigation. In a 2012 CFO article – Green is the New Lean – Kuehn explains how UPS relaxes the return on investment requirements for projects that generate a sustainability benefit, particularly with regard to UPS’s industry leading fleet of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.
UPS “see[s] vehicles as a rolling laboratory”, explained Kuehn. Over time, Kuehn believes that UPS’s fleet diversification and investment, and the company’s willingness to test its alternative fuel vehicles on the road in real world conditions, is a strategic approach that will ultimately pay off through cost reduction and institutional capacity for a changing risk landscape.
Kuehn knows first hand how miles and minutes saved can translate into dollars and improved environmental performance. He joined UPS as a driver in 1977 and his career has included leadership roles in sales and marketing, engineering, operations, and strategic cost planning. He was appointed to CFO in 2008 and sits on the Management Committee, a group of UPS’s most senior executives who are responsible for the day-to-day management of the company.
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