1st Edition

Managing the Transition to a Sustainable Enterprise Lessons from Frontrunner Companies

    288 Pages 134 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 134 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In combining practice and theory, this textbook provides a management perspective on the ‘business case’ for sustainability. Drawing on examples from 20 frontrunner companies located in the Netherlands, it builds upon a unique research project in which CEOs and middle-managers gave access not only to their decision-making process, but also revealed how their perceptions shaped the transition process.

    This book identifies four different archetypes of business cases and related business models that business students and managers can use to identify phases and related attitudes towards sustainability. The book provides in-depth analysis and insight into:

    • theoretical concepts and an overview of the relevant literature

    • the different business cases for sustainability

    • behavioural characteristics of each phase and the typical barriers between them

    • more than 70 tipping points

    • approaches to shaping stakeholder dialogue

    • effective engagement of stakeholders in each phase of transition

    • how companies move through the phases towards higher levels of sustainability

    • insights of employees of the 20 companies whether the business case was really achieved

    • summary of the interventions which have proved successful in these companies.

    This book offers students as well as managers of vocational and academic institutions at undergraduate and postgraduate level insight into real-life transition processes towards sustainability.

    Part 1: Setting the Stage  1. Introduction – Structure of the Book  2. Delineating Sustainable Enterprise  Part 2: Theory and Concepts  3. The Business Case for Sustainable Enterprise and the State of Scientific Knowledge  4. A transition model for achieving sustainable enterprise 5. The Increasing Importance of Stakeholder Engagement Part 3: Practices  6. Getting Started – Leaving the Inactive Phase  7. Transition from Reactive to Active  8. Moving towards the Proactive Phase  Part 4: The Future  9. Conclusion


    Rob van Tulder is Professor of International Business-Society Management at RSM Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

    Rob van Tilburg is SeniorAdvisor at Royal HaskoningDHV , The Netherlands.

    Mara Francken is advisor at Royal HaskoningDHV, The Netherlands.

    Andrea da Rosa is Research Associate at the Partnerships Resource Centre RSM Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

    The authors present a model that organizations of all sizes and in any industry can use to advance their sustainability agenda. The model is based on sound research and managers at all levels will find the case examples helpful in bringing to life the concepts presented throughout the book. 

    Timothy Galpin, Colorado State University, USA

    No-one can doubt the need for transition to sustainable business - the problem is how to do it, how to persuade colleagues, and how to evaluate the claims of enthusiasts. This book answers these questions in a comprehensive, accessible and inspiring way. If you want to make wise decisions or to analyse what others are doing - use this book every day!

    –Jonathan Gosling, University of Exeter Business School, UK

    For pension service providers the sustainability challenge has different perspectives. First of all, pension is about very long commitment. Second, pension is a means and its value is determined by other domains, like health care and living arrangements. And it is about the sustainability of their investments. These perspectives reinforce each other. Therefore sustainability is not a strategic option for PGGM (with more than €140 billion assets under management) but a necessity and conviction. This book inspired us with many concrete examples, tools and good-practices from peers.

    –Frido Kraanen, director of Cooperative and Sustainability PGGM, the Netherlands

    Stakeholders expectations with respect to sustainability are no longer a threat or a business restriction but a huge enabler of innovation and commercial success for all kind of business; maybe that’s the most important lesson of this publication. By providing a solid phase model, this book enables every manager to discover the company’s position in sustainability and how to grasp the related business and communication value out of it. It clearly shows how a sustainability focus really contributes to the commercial success of organizations

    –Hans Koeleman, Director Corporate communications KPN, the Netherlands

    The ambition of setting the standard in CSR in the aviation industry requires not only corporate commitment, but also smart management of an ever increasing ‘portfolio’ of cross-sector partnerships. This book is the first that addresses this idea in a systematic and dynamic way. It provides a realistic counterweight to overly optimistic or pessimistic accounts of the sustainability efforts of large established companies like Air France-KLM. 

    –Inka Pieter, Director CSR & Environmental Strategy KLM 

    This book provides an excellent application of transition thinking at the corporate level. Perfect combination of theory and practice.

    –Jan Rotmans, Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), the Netherlands

    Sustainability is the major challenge of the twenty-first century. This book gives practical insights and tools that help us on the road to sustainable insurance.

    –Liesbeth van der Kruit, Director CSR, Achmea, the Netherlands

    Being one of the world's largest dairy cooperatives, we face a large number of sustainability challenges. This book provides excellent models and lessons how to tackle these.

    –Frank van Ooijen, Director Sustainability, FrieslandCampina, the Netherlands

    This challenging book can be seen as a breakthrough in literature about company’s role in society. It provides a balanced, realistic and business wise insight in thinking and acting in the field of corporate responsibility. Combining scientific research with practical experiences, the authors succeed in bringing long term challenges to business leaders’ agendas today. Without any doubt, this book is food for thought for new business leaders with the ambition to enhance both society and business vitality.

    –Ab van der Touw, CEO Siemens, the Netherlands

    Pathways to sustainable enterprise are journeys with unclear destinations, since what a sustainable enterprise of scale is still non-existent. By analyzing views of leading companies' employees, this book makes a valuable contribution to clarifying both the end-point and pathways to it, with valuable frameworks and exploration of key concepts such as tipping points.

    Steve Waddell, NetworkingAction, USA

    The evolution towards sustainable enterprise requires solid research designs, and active collaboration between academics and practitioners. This book provides an excellent example on how to achieve both objectives at the same time. A must read for anyone who is serious about studying or experimenting with these new ways to conceive of business.

    –Maurizio Zollo, President, European Academy of Management, Dean, Bocconi University, Italy