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People moves: CSOs come and go in the battery supply chain

Battery supply chains are under pressure to improve their sustainability credentials – and this is leading to governance shake-ups.
Melodie Michel
CSOs come and go in the battery supply chain
Photo by Waldemar on Unsplash

One Chief Sustainability Officer steps down at battery minerals firm Lifezone Metals, while another is poached from Honeywell to lead the sustainability strategy at battery maker Viridi.

Battery supply chains are under pressure to improve their sustainability credentials as demand for transition minerals such as nickel, cobalt and copper increases to meet the needs of a decarbonised economy – and this is leading to governance shake-ups.

Natasha Liddell steps down at Lifezone Metals

Lifezone Metals, a miner and processor of energy transition metals such as nickel, cobalt and copper, announced yesterday (December 7) that its Chief Sustainability Officer Natasha Lidell will be stepping down in February 2024, after less than a year in the role. 

"My decision is purely personal and my need to spend more time with my family.
Lifezone Metals is a truly exciting company and I know has great potential to shake up the ESG space for cleaner metals," Liddell tells CSO Futures.

She started her career as a mining analyst and held roles in corporate and ESG communications at BHP and Kabanga Nickel until she joined Lifezone Metals as executive vice president of ESG and communications in December 2022. She was then named Chief Sustainability Officer in May 2023.

In a statement, the company said she has been “instrumental in leading corporate and local sustainability teams, and she is committed to ensuring a smooth transition of duties”, though it made no mention of who would take over the role.

Honeywell names new CSO after veteran’s departure

Meanwhile, Honeywell confirms to CSO Futures that Dr. Gavin Towler has taken on the role of Chief Sustainability Officer after its CSO of 20 years Evan van Hook joined battery manufacturer Viridi.

Towler was already Chief Scientist at the US$130 billion conglomerate, and has now added the CSO role to his title. He has been at Honeywell since 2012, leading research and development at its oil and gas technology business unit UOP and then at its Performance Materials and Technologies group.

He replaces Honeywell’s first Chief Sustainability Officer Evan van Hook, who had been in the role since 2004, and has now taken on the newly created CSO position at battery maker Viridi.

Evan van Hook becomes Viridi’s first CSO

In his time at Honeywell, van Hook led the conglomerate’s strategy to produce solutions to help industrial clients achieve decarbonisation goals while also cutting its own operational emissions – with a target reduction of 50% for Scope 1 and 2 and 23% for Scope 3 by 2037.

Viridi is a manufacturer of commercial-scale lithium-ion-based energy storage systems for industrial applications. As CSO, van Hook will work to make batteries more environmentally friendly and create a positive social impact on the communities where they are developed and deployed.

“Evan van Hook brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience to the Viridi team that will bolster our efforts to innovate the future of power,” said Viridi CEO Jon M. Williams. “Sustainability is at the core of our work, and I can think of no one better suited to lead our efforts in this space. I look forward to partnering with Evan to build our sustainable energy solutions and transform the future of our company and the communities where we operate.”