Sustainable Business : Key Issues book cover
2nd Edition

Sustainable Business
Key Issues

ISBN 9781138087903
Published April 18, 2018 by Routledge
318 Pages 54 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Sustainable Business: Key Issues is the first comprehensive introductory-level textbook to address the interface between environmental challenges and business solutions to provide an overview of the basic concepts of sustainability, sustainable business, and business ethics. The book introduces students to the background and key issues of sustainability and suggests ways in which these concepts can be applied in business practice. Though the book takes a business perspective, it is interdisciplinary in its nature and draws on knowledge from socio-economic, political, and environmental studies, thereby providing a practical and critical understanding of sustainability in the changing paradigm of global business. It goes beyond the conventional theories of sustainability and addresses critical issues concerned with population, consumption, and economic growth. It discusses realistic ways forward, in particular the circular economy and Cradle to Cradle frameworks.

The book is both a theoretical and practical study guide for undergraduate and postgraduate international students of broad areas of sustainability, teaching ways to recognize opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship at the intersection of environmental, economic, ethical, and social systems. It takes a strategic approach in applying the power of business methods and policy to address issues of global importance such as climate change, poverty, ecosystem degradation, and human rights.

This textbook is essential reading for students of business, management, and sustainability courses. It is written in an engaging and accessible style, with each chapter including case studies, discussion questions, end of chapter summaries, and suggestions for further reading. This new edition is updated throughout, and contains an additional chapter on the circular economy.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction: key concepts in sustainability and business

Chapter 2. Business ethics


Chapter 3. Environmental challenges

Chapter 4. Social and economic challenges

Chapter 5. Key challenges for making sustainability a reality


Chapter 6. Globalization and business

Chapter 7. Strategic change for sustainability

Chapter 8. Human resource management, green jobs, and a green economy


Chapter 9. Creating a sustainable business practice

Chapter 10. New strategic thinking

Chapter 11. Cradle to Cradle (C2C)

Chapter 12. Towards a circular economy

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Helen Kopnina is a researcher in the fields of environmental education and environmental social science at The Hague University of Applied Science (HHS), The Netherlands. She is a coordinator of the Sustainable Business program and publishes in areas of sustainability, environmental education, and biological conservation.

John Blewitt was Director of the MSc Social Responsibility and Sustainability at Aston Business School in Birmingham, UK, until his retirement in 2017. He has published widely on education and sustainability issues and is author of Understanding Sustainable Development, 3rd edition (Routledge, 2018) and co-editor of The Post-Growth Project (LPP/Green House, 2014).


"The second edition of Sustainable Business: Key Issues is a solid introductory volume that allows students not only to get familiar with the issues of (un)sustainability in corporate contexts, but learn to recognize global obstacles to sustainability, as well as equip students to find viable solutions from the business perspective. The importance of Cradle to Cradle and circular economy framework is outlined as particularly relevant to strategic management of sustainability." Frans Meijers, PhD., Professor Emeritus, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands.

"This book represents a welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on sustainability and business by offering a refreshingly different perspective from many mainline works in the field. The authors couple an insightful critique of current conventional viewpoints on sustainability with a conceptual menu of reasoned alternatives to move our global economic system closer to true sustainability." Peter N. Nemetz, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Strategy and Business Economics, Sauder School of Business, University of BC, Canada

 "This book cuts through much of the waffle and jargon about both ‘sustainability’ and ‘business’. Unlike many other books in this area, it does not dodge difficult issues such as overpopulation, overconsumption and ethics. It is not in denial of either humanity’s grave predicament, nor of the solutions urgently needed – which exist and need to be acted on at all levels in society. I strongly recommend this book in its approach to discussing what business practices can be truly sustainable." Haydn Washington, author of ‘Demystifying Sustainability', and Fellow at the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales, Australia

"Sustainable Business is a clear, balanced and important introduction to a subject that needs everyone’s close attention. Kopnina and Blewitt have done an excellent job in showing how businesses and business schools can help create a fairer and more sustainable world." Nicholas Theodorakopoulos BSc, MBA, PhD, Professor of Entrepreneurship Development, Head of Department, Work and Organisational Psychology, Director, Aston Centre for People and Organisations, UK

"Sustainable Business: Key Issues by Helen Kopnina and John Blewitt provides a valuable introductory text into the (un)sustainability issues and challenges facing current business practice. It provides an accessible yet informative insight into both organisational and systemic issues that businesses face and goes so far as to suggest some potential solutions. It should prove of interest to both students and business practitioners." Professor Stuart Cooper, Professor of Accounting and Head of the Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Bristol, UK

"The second edition of this book is very welcome because it is an accessible text that addresses the most critical challenges of our time which are now framed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The book tackles a range of subjects and issues using an interdisciplinary approach to provide an understanding of what sustainable business really means for both students (of all disciplines) and business professionals, as well as outlining practical strategies to inspire action." Carole Parkes, Professor of Responsible Management, University of Winchester Business School, UK.

"This book is a must-read for everyone who is driven to contribute to a better sustainable future. The authors shed light on some profound challenges taking place around the world and breakthrough innovations in sustainable business models. It is definitely an eye-opener."  Dianne Potters, Founder 21Sustainable, The Netherlands

Praise from the previous edition:

"This book is bound to stimulate the reader’s interest in the complex relationship between business and sustainability. With its comprehensive approach, covering a broad range and variety of issues, a critical discussion of traditional approaches and an offer of alternative views, it is certain not only to increase the reader’s awareness of the business role in sustainability but also to engage them in thinking about effective solutions for sustainable business practices." Damir Urem, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands