The Path to Sustainable Business and How the SDGs Changed Everything
The business world is at an important crossroads. The age of the stakeholder is rapidly superseding that of the shareholder as climate change and political and societal shifts upend years of seeming prosperity. To move past this agitated age, business and society must learn to lead sustainably by putting purpose on equal footing with profit. The first step is understanding what’s meant by sustainability and how it offers an opportunity for both business and society.
Inspired by the launch of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the book captures the ideas of more than 100 change makers from around the world about how business is putting sustainability at the core of strategy to survive, thrive, and realign its interests with society’s. Leading Sustainably looks at how sustainability has evolved in a business context, offering powerful insights, key facts, and guidance on building sustainability capability within companies, measuring and managing impact, sustainable finance’s transformation, and other topics critical to aligning businesses’ central activities with sustainable principles.
The book introduces five vignettes profiling best-in-class companies that were sustainable from the start and international case studies on business sustainability efforts, spanning industries from hospitality to waste management, fashion, finance, and more. Finally, Bridges and Eubank provide frameworks and in-depth direction firms can leverage when accelerating their transition to more sustainable business models.
The book is a perfect guide for mid-level to senior managers seeking to understand this fast-changing business environment, how to factor sustainability into their decision-making, and why the SDGs changed everything.
Table of Contents
Foreword (Mark Milstein, Clinical Professor at Cornell’s SC Johnson Graduate School of Management and Director at the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise); Preface: Pro Bono Humani Generis; Prologue: Vision 2030—Where could we be? 1. How We Got Here—The Story of Sustainability and the SDGs 2. For Profit, Purpose, and Survival—Business embraces sustainability 3. From ESG to SDGs—Methodologies and measurement for impact 4. The Transformation of Finance—sustainable investing goes mainstream 5. The Road to Sustainability—Best practices for building organizational capabilities and driving implementation 6. What’s Next?—Industries as hotbeds of sustainable innovation 7. Achieving the breakthrough: Sustainability becomes business-as-ususal
Trista Bridges is a strategy and marketing expert with extensive experience across various geographies and sectors including consumer products, financial services, technology, and healthcare. As co-founder of Read the Air, she advises organizations on sustainability, providing them with the insights and solutions needed to transition to sustainable business models.
Donald Eubank is an experienced manager who’s worked across the IT, finance, and media industries in Asia. As co-founder of Read the Air, he serves as a key advisor to businesses that are integrating sustainability into their core strategy, guiding their teams to lead sustainably and apply critical tools for managing impact.
"A must read for everyone on the journey toward sustainable business. It provides the context, and more importantly specific guidance on how to accelerate the transition toward models that will help to change the way business is done, respecting the needs of both society and our planet."
Jeff Turner, Vice President of Sustainability, DSM
“Leading Sustainably offers a road map for integrating the latest sustainability thinking into business practice. Bridges and Eubank demonstrate—through presentation of excellent case examples and historical evolution of the field—how SDG mandates contribute to effective business management and value creation to the benefit of both shareholders and stakeholders alike.”
Jed Emerson, Author of 'The Purpose of Capital: Elements of Impact, Financial Flows and Natural Being'
"Bridges and Eubank’s book is a new and ultra-accessible exploration of the rapidly evolving intersection of business and sustainability, with a focus on business cases, best practices and practical steps to make progress, and how the subject is shooting up in importance for companies and managers."
Dr. Florian Kohlbacher, Author of "International Marketing in the Network Economy", "Advertising in the Aging Society" and "The Silver Market Phenomenon"
"This book is a great resource and practical guide for senior managers that are responsible for business decisions around sustainability, including around the 'Power of Communication' discussed in Chapter 5 – sometimes, communication is the big differentiator, rather than actions or performance against benchmarks."
Mahadevan (Mack) Ramachandran, Futures Inc., Co-Founder
"Leading Sustainably is an in-depth look at a subject that ought to be paramount in every corporations’ business plan. Bridges and Eubank share their extensive expertise on what sustainability in business means and its past and future, while laying out a clear, concise roadmap for corporations to follow."
Maho Uehara-Cavalier, The Humane League, Regional Manager Japan
""Better Business Better World" published by Business & Sustainable Development Commission notes that the SDGs drive innovations and economic growth, achieving four aspects of economy, including sustainable agricultural production, sustainable cities, energy resources, and health and wellbeing. It is estimated that achieving those aspects will lead to saving cost and further creating USD$12 trillion market value for corporations, and hence are the key to achieving SDGs. Furthermore, a total of 380 million jobs will be created by 2030. The SDGs have a strong influence on economies, society, and environment worldwide in the future. Trista Bridges and Donald Eubank introduced the practical business models and procedures to advance the SDGs in this book, which is highly recommended to all."
Dr. P.C. Wang, Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE) and Center for Corporate Sustainability (CCS), Deputy Secretary General; and Chung Yuan Christian University (Taiwan), Adjunct Assistant Professor
"Bridges and Eubank have created a useful primer on how business leaders’ response to sustainability is evolving today—covering cutting-edge approaches, up-to-date case studies, and effective management practices. More importantly, the writing is fresh and accessible to corporate executives, investment managers, and researches, alike."
William J. Swinton, Temple University, Japan Campus, Director, International Business Studies
"A growing number of entrepreneurs today are building businesses with a social mission, guided by strong sustainability principles. Bridges and Eubank feature five such mission-driven companies and show how traditional businesses can also take meaningful steps to become more like them."
Robin Lewis and Mariko McTier, Social Innovation Japan, Co-founder and Directors
"Businesses must respond to climate change and societal changes. Aiming to address these challenges and improve society is the secret to business success. Reading this book will help you understand the important actions and steps to take."
Kenichi Ishida, Managing Officer Chief Manager of Environment Improving Department
"Leading Sustainably" is an engrossing read covering sustainability,why it matters, the role of private enterprise and how profit and purpose can be powerfully combined to develop new ways of doing business in the 21st century. The book is an excellent primer - and even more importantly, a guide, for business leaders who are struggling to grasp the significant complexity of this change but have been charged with re-orienting their businesses and organisations to respond to the new environment. Set against the backdrop of rising public angst around the issues of environmental degradation, climate change, inequality and widening gaps in society, Leading Sustainably is a compelling call to action. The underlying theme - unsurprisingly - is that apathy, inaction and indifference are no longer an option, not for individuals and even less so for organisations. Without changing and re-examining the underpinning of their business models, their processes and business practices, companies (both large and small) will see their markets shrinking, their customers moving on and their value being destroyed. For those who may find this all a bit overwhelming, Chapter V has ten clearly outlined steps aptly titled, "Achieving Sustainability: How to get there". The book is well laid out and sequenced with powerful stories of businesses that have re-aligned themselves to the changing world.
I particularly enjoyed the Vignettes - they are fresh & invigorating examples of amazing change in these uncertain times. Read them all – and the read the book in full. You will not regret it."
Shantanu Bhagwhat, Sr Advisor, VC Funds & Impact Investments, Sr Advisor VC Funds, Department for International Trade (DIT), UK Government (or Venture Partner, Ufi Ventures)
"An informative guide for companies seeking to integrate the UN SDGs and sustainability into their business. The book provides valuable insights and practical steps for how to put sustainability at the core of your business."
Jin Montesano, LIXIL Group Corporation, Chief Public Affairs Officer and Chief People Officer
"’Leading Sustainably’ provides an in-depth discussion of how to measure and manage impact. It showcases practical ways for businesses to manage their non-financial effects on people and planet, and their contributions towards the SDGs."
Karl Richter, EngagedX, Executive Director and Co-founder
"This book draws a complete scene of sustainability development for business. The authors give concrete steps, practical suggestions, and questions you may face during the process. It’s a great reference for business to start sustainability planning, and a helpful checklist for businesses that have been on the road to sustainability."
Sharon Lin, Shin Kong Financial Holding (Taiwan), CSR Project Assistant Manager
"This book brings about a paradigm shift in conventional thinking by showing how sustainability principles can be written into your core business strategies for increased profitability through achieivng a competitive edge, and thus drive progress on the SDGs."
Dr. Thusitha Tennakoon, Consortium of Consultants for Sustainable Development (CCSD; Colombo, Sri Lanka), Lead Consultant