Leading Sustainably: The Path to Sustainable Business and how the SDGs Changed Everything, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Leading Sustainably

The Path to Sustainable Business and how the SDGs Changed Everything, 1st Edition

By Trista Bridges, Donald Eubank


200 pages

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Hardback: 9780367428365
pub: 2020-04-30
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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 made by understanding what is meant by sustainability and how it offers an opportunity for both business and society. 

Inspired by the launch of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, the book captures the ideas of more than 100 thought leaders and change makers from around the world about how business is putting sustainability at the core of strategy and operations to survive, thrive, and realign its interests with society’s. Leading Sustainably looks at how sustainability in a business context has evolved overtime and offers powerful insights, key facts, and guidance on building sustainability capability within companies, measuring and managing impact, understanding the transformation in sustainable innovation and finance, and other topics critical to better aligning businesses’ core activities with sustainable principles.

The book introduces five vignettes that profile best-in-class examples of companies that have been sustainable from the start and numerous case studies on business sustainability efforts around the world, spanning industries from hospitality to waste management, fashion to finance and more. Finally, Leading Sustainably provides frameworks and in-depth direction that firms can leverage when accelerating their transition to more sustainable business models. 

The book is a perfect guide for mid-level to senior managers who seek to understand this fast changing business environment, how to factor sustainability into their decision-making, and why the SDGs have changed everything.


"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"

"A must read for everyone on the journey towards sustainable business. It provides the context, and more importantly specific guidance on how to accelerate the transition towards models which 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

"All this time sustainability has been seen by the business community as a "responsibility" toward future generations -- as more of an obligation. This book brings about a paradigm shift in the conventional thinking by showing how sustainability principals 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

"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 & 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 Sustainable" is a compelling call to action.

The underlying theme- unsurprisingly - is that apathy,inaction and indifference are no longer an option. Not for individuals but even less so for organisations.

Without changing and re-examining the underpinning of their business models, their processes and business practices, companies(both large & 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 InvestmentsSr Advisor VC Funds, Department for International Trade (DIT), UK Government (or Venture Partner, Ufi Ventures)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of acronyms

Foreword by Dr. 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

Chapter Break 1: In The Spotlight—Mission-driven companies

Prologue: Vision 2030—Where could we be?

Chapter 1: Now There’s A Plan—The history of sustainability and the SDGs

Chapter Break 2: Definition of sustainability

Chapter 2: For Profit, Purpose, and Survival—Why business is embracing sustainability

Chapter Break 3: Vignette #1*—Toad & Co

Chapter 3: From ESG to SDGs—Methodologies for measuring and managing impact

Chapter Break 4: Vignette #2—ReNuble

Chapter 4: Sustainable Finance Goes Mainstream—Enlightened capital leads the way

Chapter Break 5: Vignette #3—ECOncrete

Chapter 5: The Road to Sustainability—Best practices for building organizational capabilities and driving implementation

Chapter Break 6: Vignette #4—TBM, Co Ltd.’s LIMEX

Chapter 6: What’s Next—Industries as hotbeds of sustainable innovation

Chapter Break 7: Vignette #5—Keen

Chapter 7: Achieving the Breakthrough—Sustainability becomes Business-as-usual



About the Authors

Trista Bridges is a highly regarded advisor with extensive experience in strategy development and execution topics. In her recent work as co-founder of Read the Air, she advises businesses on sustainability, providing them with the insights and solutions needed to transition to sustainable business models.

Donald Eubank is a seasoned manager with experience in the IT, finance, and media industries. As a cofounder of Read the Air, he serves as an important advisor to businesses that areintegrating sustainability into their core strategy, guiding their teams to lead sustainably and apply critical tools for managing their impact.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Entrepreneurship
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Corporate Governance