Heartland Adds Chief Sustainability Officer to Their Executive Team

The leadership team at Heartland Industries has brought on Eric Austermann as Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO).


Mr. Austermann will have two main responsibilities in his role as CSO: 

  • External – advancing Heartland’s mission across the public and private sectors. 
  • Internal – advancing Heartland’s mission through structure, sustainability, and compliance. 
eric austermann

Mr. Austermann will mainly focus on establishing effective environmental and sustainability mandates that can be spread internally and externally. 

Of course, with these responsibilities comes dozens of tasks that will help move Heartland closer to their mission of becoming the most sustainable company in the world

Fortunately, Mr. Austermann’s experience and skill set are perfect for some of the duties he will spearhead as Heartland secures their supply chain and governance model. 

Some of these responsibilities include: 

  • Accreditation and compliance oversight. This will include certifications like: ASTM, UL, GMP, ISO, Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), Carbon Credits, Biopreferred, SDG’s, CSR, EHS, ESG, and other mandated government programs at state, federal, and international levels. 
  • Supply Chain Governance. Mr. Austermann will support our COO in farming, processing, storage, and logistics oversight. 
  • Create a structure around safety, sustainability, and philanthropy that can drive a culture of social and environmental responsibility. 
  • Secure credible endorsements through lobbying groups, coalitions, consortiums, associations, industry groups, NGOs and relevant government organizations. 
  • Secure and deliver speaking engagements to relevant target audiences. 
  • Produce annual sustainability reports and factsheets that support ESG mandates driven by Heartland’s leadership team. 

After months of conversations determining roles and responsibilities, our leadership team determined that Mr. Austermann was the perfect person to help solidify Heartland’s mission. 

Eric has over two decades of experience in successfully overseeing manufacturing, supply chain, and sustainability initiatives. Previously he was a sustainability and operations leader at Jabil, one of the leading global manufacturers. 

As the Vice President of Sustainability, Health & Safety, and Corporate Social Responsibility for Jabil, he led some of their most important initiatives. 

This included Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG), Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS), as well as other sustainability and human rights initiatives. 

Jabil is a $27 billion global manufacturing & supply chain company with over 100 facilities across 30 countries and more than 200,000 employees. At Jabil, Mr. Austermann built its sustainability strategy from the ground up, developing its first climate action plan, science-based targets, carbon neutrality modeling, and finalizing alignment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). 

Mr. Austermann represented Jabil as a founding member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), where he held multiple positions on its Board of Directors. As a thought leader, Mr. Austermann is a sought-after speaker in sustainability and corporate social responsibility. 

Over the past few decades, Mr. Austermann has lead transformative strategies to advance business goals that solve complex commercial and operational problems. So, when our team walked him through our strategy for creating continuity in bio-based supply chains, he wanted to jump all in! 

As someone with experience in sustainable initiatives across energy, waste, and water conservation, Mr. Austermann was excited to utilize his skill set to help embed green materials into the manufacturing supply chain. 

Mr. Austermann has a bachelor’s degree in General Management from Oakland University, an MBA from the University of Michigan, and is currently a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). 

He has extensive experience driving a positive impact for the stakeholders surrounding the company, including enhancing employee well-being, community engagement, and other human rights initiatives. Mr. Austermann is also proficient at P&L management, strategy development, project management, and global supply chain management. 

We know that he will create a foundation of governance and risk management that will help stabilize our supply chain as we penetrate different parts of the manufacturing sector. There is no doubt in our mind that Mr. Austermann has the skill set necessary to help bring Heartland’s vision to fruition. 

But, beyond his skill set, we brought on Mr. Austermann because of his ability to positively impact our culture. 

As a great man, Peter Drucker, once said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” 

Strategies may shift multiple times a week. In fact, iteration is a necessary facet of building something that has never been built before. As we have listened to the insights from our customers, our strategy and execution has shifted in accordance with the various feedback loops we have put in place. 

The truth is, strategies will come and go, but culture is timeless. The greatest companies on the planet are the greatest because of their culture. 

They have standards that other competing companies can’t fathom. 

  • They have a clearly defined purpose, mission, and vision. 
  • Their employees feel that they are doing meaningful work. 
  • They have effective communication across the organization. 
  • They have multi-disciplinary teams that bring in skill sets from multiple industries. 
  • They have a leadership team that makes employees excited to get up and come to work. 

These are just a few of the facets of a strong culture. And, to us, culture is the foundation of a company’s ultimate success. 

We are confident that Mr. Austermann is the best cultural fit for the role of Chief Sustainability Officer. His experience, poise, and foresight will help us create a culture that transcends any one leader or strategy. 

We are excited to welcome Mr. Austermann to our team! His future here at Heartland Industries is full of endless opportunities.  Mr. Austermann will show leaders across the public and private sector how an industrial hemp supply chain is going to change the world. 

We are sitting on the starting line of the revolution in green materials. 

Join us as we build the most sustainable company on the planet. 

— Heartland Team

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