1st Edition

Sustainability Duty or Opportunity for Business?

By Michael Norton Copyright 2012
    264 Pages 83 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Businesses are nowadays expected to act sustainably; it is also in both society’s and the company’s own interest if opportunities to develop more sustainable products or services can be fully grasped. Leading international companies may already be moving in this direction, but many (especially smaller companies) are often held back by a lack of personnel or know how. This book has been written to overcome this deficit by providing a convenient ‘one-stop-shop’ where readers (whether they be business staff, university or business school students) can understand personally what the sustainability issue is about, and appreciate the many areas where companies can respond to the challenge of a more sustainable world.

    Based on a successful ‘Green’ Management of Technology Masters introduced in Japan in 2008, this book explains in non-specialist language why current economic systems under which firms operate do not lead to sustainable outcomes, provides the background to the evolution of concerns over sustainability, and also provides sufficient understanding of key environmental and social issues to support informed debate, encouraging readers to consider working for a more sustainable organisation and society.

    Focusing on the implications of sustainability for business, the book provides an overview of both the internal business issues raised by concerns over sustainability, and the many external opportunities which exist for innovation and development of new products and services which can contribute to both company viability and a sustainable future for society. It can either be used as a basis for self-study and learning, or as a textbook to support a course in an MBA, MOT or similar business-oriented course. It includes educational feedback from the course students (mostly working in local businesses), which may encourage readers to explore the interactions between sustainability and business, and help teachers planning and implementing similar courses. It also blends together case studies from both UK and Japan providing a genuinely trans-national perspective.

    Part 1: Business and Sustainability - Background  1.1. The Challenge of a Sustainable World  1.2. Sustainability, Innovation and Competitiveness  Part 2: Sustainability Foundations  2.1. What You Need to Know  2.2. History of Development of Pollution Problems  2.3. Introducing Sustainable Development  2.4. Major Environmental Sustainability Challenges  2.5. Ethical Dilemmas and Stakeholders  2.6. Paths towards Sustainability  2.7. Envisaging the Future  2.8. Practical Examples  Part 3: Applying Sustainability Thinking in Business  3.1. How does Business Interact with Sustainability?  3.2. Assessing Performance of Businesses in Sustainable Development  3.3. Reporting Performance in Sustainability  3.4. Supply Chain and Sustainability  3.5. Alternative Business Approaches  3.6. Scenarios  3.7. Business Opportunities in Sustainability  3.8. The Green Consumer  3.9. Practical Examples


    Michael Norton is currently a Professor in the Environmental Leaders Program at Tohoku University in Japan (since April 2012). Before that, he was a Professor at Shinshu University’s Institute of Innovation Management (since 2006) and at Tokyo Institute of Technology (2004-6). He has a Ph.D in Chemistry from Bristol University, and has worked in the UK Chemical Industry and for the UK Government in the fields of innovation policy and environmental protection. He was founding Director of the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (1989-98) and also Counselor for Science and Technology at the British Embassy Tokyo (1998-2004). He applied this broad experience and perspective from both UK and Japan to developing the sustainability elements of a new Green Masters of Technology Masters Course at Shinshu University, on which this book is based. He is currently Professor in Tohoku University's Environmental Leader Program.

    'This book makes interesting, if not necessary, reading for businesses and students! Michael Norton provides in lay terms an excellent and clear overview of the internal business issues raised by concerns over sustainability, and highlights the many external opportunities which exist for innovation and development of new products and services, which can contribute both to company viability and a sustainable future for society... This book is a genuine and sincere attempt to explain the concept of sustainability and illustrate how it is incentive compatible for profit-making businesses, both in the short and most importantly in the long-run. I am excited that this important message is transmitted in such an understandable manner and hope that businesses have their ears open!' —Phoebe Koundouri, Professor, Athens University of Economics and Business, and London School of Economics, UK

    'This book provides an excellent mix of knowledge required for implementation of sustainable growth and environmental management for those in industry, government, and academic research. I strongly recommend the book to be read by business practitioners, government policy makers and academic researchers and teachers who are involved in sustainable growth and environmental management.' — Masao Nakamura, Professor, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

    ‘I approached this book with trepidation as there are now so many out there, and most of them suggest mild nudges to the current market-based corporate system, but this book is really good. It starts as it means to go on with a radical vision. If all the author recommends were enacted business and markets - and the world - would be a very different place. I commend it for being so dense, in the best possible way. This book is worth many of the others put together.’Malcolm McIntosh, Professor and Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, Griffith University, Australia