Welcome to RECOL, an incubator for organisational development in the area of "Responsible Leadership".


    On this site we summarize the outcomes of one of our initiatives -„RECOL ELS – Engaging Leaders for Sustainability".


    How can sustainability become an integral part of the DNA of a company and its leaders? How does it support its core objectives at the same time? - we discussed this issue with 40 executives and thought leaders.


    In a world that is changing fundamentally, most executives are faced with a multitude of issues that may develop into challenges, as well as into opportunities. How does sustainability fit into this?

  • Antoinette Hunziker Ebneter, President of
    the board of directors

    „I would recommend to any company that the highest organisational level – the board of directors – refines the company’s values and what sustainability means to them.“

    Oliver Hofmann, CEO

    „We need to permanently realign our organisation with externally relevant issues. We need to integrate the "constant change" into the DNA of our company's culture and to take our employees along for the journey."

    Anne Wolf, Head of Corporate Responsibility

    "It is important as a leader to move out of our comfort zone, to take a risk when it's appropriate, to get exposed, to not shy away from a conflict."

    THomas Gosteli, Head of hr and training

    „Responsible Leadership is the ambition to optimize the entrepreneurial success as opposed to maximizing it, and the alignment of action according to that. In the long term, optimizing is better."

    ReS Witschi, Head of Corporate Responsibility

    "I take time in the morning for an inner alignment - what is my motivation today? What do I care about - just making a living or do I really want to have impact?"

  • Partners

    Following partners have supported RECOL ELS with financial and time resources.

    In most cases we lead interviews with the Head of HR, Head or Sustainability/CSR, as well as an executive board representative or the CEO - thank you!


    Despite the increasing importance that executives attribute to sustainability, hardly any company has developed a systematic approach to integrating it as part of their organisational culture.
    Some companies have implemented initial programmes successfully, tested innovative training solutions and made decision makers more aware of new issues.

    On a personal level, sustainability is well-received and attracts the interest of executives. They tend to define it in a similar way as “responsible leadership” - as an operating model rather than an ecological subject.


    A key recommendation from our interview partners is the inclusion of sustainability in the (experience-based) training of corporate leaders. Furthermore, the increasing need for personal development, awareness and reflection skills has to be specifically addressed. Executives need to be approached not only at a rational level but also at an emotional level.

    According to them, a true engagement of corporate leaders for sustainability is hindered by: a lack of role models at top management, no personal reflection, short-term outlook and inadequate performance objectives.


    In our "Integration Mind Map" will give you on overview of the various dimensions of a responsible approach to leadership. Also, you can download a summary of the report below.

  • The REPORT

    Read a summary of the full report


    The Mind Map gives an overview of the most important findings of our interviews. It summarizes the context, the most important obstacles as well as recommendations for a successful integration of sustainability on the management level - the 6 building blocks.

  • RECOL FOrum 2016

    The RECOL Forum 2016 took place in the Swisscom Business Center in Zürich on 8. September. Over 30 decision makers discussed the presented project report and potential approaches to integration of sustainability on the management level. Companies like Berner Kantonalbank, Credit Suisse, Die Post, Helvetia, Raiffeisen, SBB, SV Group, Swisscom, Wincasa and Zurich used the afternoon for a fruitful exchange.


    The RECOL Forum 2016 was designed and implemented with partners: euforia, Impact Hub Zürich, MyImpact and specking+partners.

    Here you will find the agenda and the speaker backgrounds.


    Overall, the participants focused on the importance of three aspects of a successful integration: measurable results in the core business, sustainability as part of the brand identity, and a credible leadership of the CEO around the topic.

    Specifically following point were discussed in more depth:

    Awareness raising through experience and emotions - consensus

    The Forum participants deeply agreed with the interview finding that decision makers should not only be engaged with facts and traditional training. What works better is an emotional approach and also unconventional formats. Executives should leave their comfort zones through well-designed experiences - (1) prepare the experience (lower psychological barriers), (2) memorable experience (e.g. slum experience at WEF), (3) postprocessing and integration into management practice.

    Top-down vs. mid management - controversy

    A number of participating company representatives felt that the top management level was the biggest lever, others saw it on the mid-management level. SBB's ambassador network for mid managers generated a lot of interest. This partly contrasts with the interview findings that suggested top management level engagement as an absolutely first priority. This even became one of the 6 building blocks (see summary document, building block 2).

    "Self-Awareness" - specific follow-up

    The importance of "self awareness" (building block 5 in the summary document) was confirmed as a high priority at the Forum. The discussion circled around the question: how do we support not only personal awareness and transformation but also the transformation on the interpersonal and organisational levels? Three of the participating companies wish to cooperate in the next few months around an approach to higher individual awareness and reflection ability.

  • Event

    We have no events scheduled at the moment, please contact us for more information on upcoming opportunities

  • offerings

    Individual company briefing

    We visit your company, present key finding of the report and start a first brainstorming on potential steps in your organisation

    Leadership development programs

    We develop individual development programs that fit your needs and objectives. We bring in the know-how from the RECOL ELS initiative

    Further information on the report

    Contact us for more background information and similar upcoming projects

    We incubate your approach to "Responsible Leadership" in a closed group of companies over the course of one year

  • contact

    RECOL ELS is an initiative of RECOL that has been started in 2011. All interviews were led by the founder, Joanna Stefanska.

    Please contact us anytime if you would like to receive more information, an individual briefing or if you would like to discuss your company's involvement with RECOL. We also work internationally and are looking forward to talking to you!

    While we are not continuing the RECOL Forum series at the moment, a number of initiatives have emerged from the previous gatherings and we are happy to share the insigh and discuss future collaboration opportunities.