This week, as Mexico appears to be on the path to have its first female president elected next year, we wanted to look into whether female leaders are more likely to improve environmental outcomes. The current administration has not been particularly pro-environment (to say the least), so we hope that the next will pay more attention to this topic, and hopefully get the country on a path that protects its natural resources in the long run. Interestingly, both leading candidates have links to ESG topics on their careers (Claudia has worked on climate issues, Xochitl has companies that focus on smart buildings).
Why could female leaders be more open to environmental protection? Without implying that male leaders could not be open to it (as there certainly are many examples of how they can), we believe a female president may be more prone to:
- Trust inclusive decision making: Research indicates that female leaders tend to adopt more inclusive and collaborative decision-making styles. This inclusivity could extend to environmental policies, fostering a more holistic and long-term approach to sustainability.
- Be sensitive to social issues: Female leaders are often more attuned to social and environmental issues, recognizing the interconnectedness of these challenges.
- Adopt global practices: Research within the corporate sector indicates that companies with women in top leadership positions are more likely to adopt environmentally responsible practices.
There already are notable examples of female leaders that have had quite relevant environmental success:
- New Zealand: Under the leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing climate change and environmental preservation. The country set ambitious goals for carbon neutrality and pledged to plant a billion trees to combat deforestation.
- Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel played a pivotal role in Germany’s transition to renewable energy. The country has become a global leader in wind and solar power, thanks in part to her commitment to sustainable energy policies.
- Norway: Norway, under the leadership of Erna Solberg, consistently ranked high in environmental sustainability. The country invested heavily in renewable energy and electric transportation, setting an example for others to follow.
As for academic research, we found a few papers that might shed light on this topic:
- How Do Women Leaders Contribute to the Promotion and Implementation of Environmental and Social Practices? This paper explores how female leaders influence the adoption of environmental and social practices in organizations.
- Why female leadership is crucial to tackle climate change? This article argues that women’s participation in decision making is good for the planet and provides examples of women-led climate initiatives.
- Women’s leadership in environmental action This paper reviews existing evidence on women’s environmental leadership in public governance, environmentally-sensitive industries, and civil society, as well as its impact on environmental outcomes.
- Why is girls’ education important for climate action? This article explains how girls’ education can strengthen climate strategies by empowering girls, fostering their climate leadership, and reducing population growth.
- Women’s Leadership and Sustainable Environmental Initiatives: A macroscopic investigation from Ecofeminism framework This paper explores the intersection of women’s leadership and sustainable environmental initiatives, highlighting the crucial role that women play in driving positive change for the planet.
We hope Mexico turns a corner on environmental policies and priorities. We certainly see the corporate world ready for this.
I hope you found this interesting. As usual, if there is anything we can help you with, or if there is an ESG topic you would like to know more about, please let us know.
CEO, Miranda ESG
Contacts at Miranda Partners