Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto

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Harvard Business Press, 2009 - Business & Economics - 226 pages
The definitive work on business strategy for sustainability by the most authoritative voice in the conversation.

More than ever before, consumers, employees, and investors share a common purpose and a passion for companies that do well by doing good. So any strategy without sustainability at its core is just plain irresponsible - bad for business, bad for shareholders, bad for the environment. These challenges represent unprecedented opportunities for big brands - such as Clorox, Dell, Toyota, Procter & Gamble, Nike, and Wal-Mart - that are implementing integral, rather than tangential, strategies for sustainability. What these companies are doing illuminates the book's practical framework for change, which involves engaging employees, using transparency as a business tool, and reaping the rewards of a networked organizational structure.

Leave your quaint notions of corporate social responsibility and environmentalism behind. Werbach is starting a whole new dialogue around sustainability of enterprise and life as we know it in organizations and individuals. Sustainability is now a true competitive strategic advantage, and building it into the core of your business is the only means to ensure that your company - and your world - will survive.

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User Review  - krau0098 - LibraryThing

I am not a big business person. I mean I have worked for corporations basically since I started working; but I don't read a lot of business books. I got this book because it looked interesting. I ... Read full review

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The "sustainability" seems to be the biggest buzzword these days, and an increasing number of institutions are judged according to whether they espouse sustainability in their practices or not. Many college campuses are abuzz with student and faculty led groups that are trying to implement sustainability as one of the core missions of their educational institutions. The word is primarily associated with the environmentalism, and implies judicious use of energy and resources. It has supplemented the old mantra of conservation, but the impetus behind its use is more or less the same. Most of these efforts are viewed with skepticism by administrators, since they impinge on budgetary matters and by and large complicate the everyday operations of the institution. The business community in particular is very uneasy with this latest fad of sustainability, since it threatens the most (some would argue the only) important consideration that businesses have: profitability. In his book "Strategy for Sustainability: Business Manifesto" the author Adam Werbach tries to appeal to the business community by arguing that a clear strategy of sustainability is beneficial for company's bottom line as well. The greatest strength of the book is its lack of knee-jerk ant corporatist attitude, and a clearly stated appreciation of the goods that business can offer to the society at large. However, the book still comes across as overly preachy and sanctimonious. There are many good ideas tossed in there, but there is no clear strategy on how to implement them. There are also no cost-benefit analyses' presented, which in the light of the previous sentence is not all that surprising: it is hard to make a quantitative analysis when there is no concrete plan of action that is to be implemented. The book is full of cute anecdotes that try to illustrate the main points, but ultimately have the effect of making one unable to take the overall massage too seriously. The main effect that it may have on the business community is to provide them with a new set of phrases and talking points. 


A Different Way to Formulate Your Business Strategy
Mapping Your Opportunities
Setting Your North Star and Initiating the TEN Cycle
Using Transparency to Execute Your Strategy
Engaging Individuals
The Network of Sustainability Partners
Leadership at All Levels

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About the author (2009)

Adam Werbach is Global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi. He was the youngest-ever (at age twenty-three years) National President of the Sierra Club at and is the author of the widely circulated speech, "Is Environmentalism Dead?

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