Sustainable Business : Key Issues book cover
3rd Edition

Sustainable Business
Key Issues




  • Available for pre-order on May 11, 2023. Item will ship after June 1, 2023
ISBN 9781032209685
June 1, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
296 Pages 47 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.

Fully updated for the third edition to take into account recent developments and trends, such as the climate emergency, Covid-19 and supply chain sustainability, this textbook 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 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 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.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Boxes

Foreword to new edition

Acknowledgements

List of abbreviations

SECTION I. KEY CONCEPTS

Chapter 1. Introduction: Key concepts in sustainability and business

What is this book about?

Brief definition of sustainability

Evolution of sustainability thinking

Business sustainability

Why do business sustainably?

Social and economic sustainability: linking business and society

Environmental sustainability: linking business and environment

Eco-efficiency

Introducing Cradle to Cradle and circular economy

What links business, ethics and sustainability?

How to do business ethically and sustainably?

Chapter organization

Case study Patagonia

Key terms

Discussion questions

Class Activity: How to save the planet: Degrowth vs Green Growth?

End of chapter summary

 

Chapter 2. Business ethics

Linking Sustainability and ethics

Different types of ethics

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

From CSR to corporate citizenship

Human Rights

Labour issues: Poverty, pay and working conditions

Fairtrade

Business & Poverty - ‘bottom of the pyramid’

Animal welfare

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

Corporate governance

Case study: Volkswagen’s response to the ‘emissions scandal’: Was it ethical?

Key terms

Discussion questions

End of chapter summary

Class Activity: Volkswagen

 

SECTION II CRITICAL EVALUATION: KEY CHALLENGES

Chapter 3. Environmental challenges

What is meant by environment?

Environmental impacts

Environmental problems

Climate change

Failing goals of reducing emissions

Corporate response to climate change

Loss of biodiversity

Limits to growth

Pollution and the industrial disasters

Waste

Causes and Explanations

Historical causes

Tragedy of the commons

Political causes

Commodification of nature

Ecological Restoration and Pollution Control

Ethical considerations

Environmental values

Case study: Shell and the Sustainable Development Goals

Key terms

Discussion questions

End of chapter summary

Class Activity

Chapter 4. Social and economic challenges

Poverty

Origins of poverty

Poverty and sustainability

Economic development

Inequality and development

Post-colonialism and neo-colonialism

Population growth

Causes of population growth

Demographic transition theory

What is sustainable development?

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Sustainable development paradox

Sustainable development and inequality

Business and sustainable development

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Managing sustainable development in business

Case study: Who is the Victim of Climate Change?

Question

Key terms

Discussion questions

End of chapter summary

Class Activity: Debate Economic growth can be decoupled from increase in consumption of natural resources

Chapter 5. Key challenges for making sustainability a reality

The changing global business environment

Paradoxes of sustainability

Possibility vs. Dream

Practical challenges

Globalization of consumption

Disputing the mainstream sustainable business models

Short-term and long-term solutions

Critique of the triple bottom line

Critique of "sustainable" consumption

Rebound effect

Tackling oil dependency and climate skepticism

Ethical challenges

Intergenerational Justice

Biospheric Egalitarianism

Environmental justice vs. ecological justice

Charity paradox

The question of demographics

The role of decision-makers

Case study: Smart phones at school

Questions

Key terms

Discussion questions

End of chapter summary

Class Activity No Impact man

 

SECTION III. GLOBALIZATION, TECHNOLOGY, AND NEW TRENDS IN BUSINESS

Chapter 6. Globalization and business

What is meant by globalization?

Schools of globalization thinkers

"Risk society"

The relationship between globalization and sustainability

Global organizations concerned with sustainability

Globalization of sustainability concerns

The greening of global supply chains

Globalization of technology

Health: Medical technology

Agriculture: The Green Revolution

Manufacturing: Fordism and Post-Fordism

Technology: Energy

Digital Technology

The Internet of Things

Globalization of neo-liberal democracy

‘Groupthink’ or cultural hegemony: global spread

Theories of development and innovation

Ecological Kuznets Curve

Ecological modernization theory

Post-material value theory

Case studies: 3-D printing

Key terms

Discussion questions

End of chapter summary

Class Activity Imagine you are the CEO of a global company

 

Chapter 7. Strategic Change for Sustainability

Sustainability and Competitive advantage

Knowledge management

Creativity and innovation

Corporate Visioning

Green marketing and customer engagement

Green shopping and market segmentation

Responsible advertising

Brand value and sustainability

Role of Consultancies in promoting sustainability

Case Study: ‘B Corp’ Certification

Key terms

Discussion questions

End of chapter summary

Class Activity: Marketing a green enterprise

 

Chapter 8. Human Resource Management, green jobs and a green economy

Knowledge and Skills: Human Resource Development

Sustainability and HRM

Whistleblowing

HR and the social ecology of the organization

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Acquiring Ecological Self Knowledge

UN Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME)

Sustainability and Leadership

Decent and Sustainable Work

Green Jobs in a Green[ing] Economy

Eco-entrepreneurship

Case Study: Unilever, Oxfam and Labour Rights in Vietnam

Key terms

Discussion questions

End of chapter summary

Class Activity Imagine you are head of an HR team

SECTION V SOLUTIONS

Chapter 9. Creating Sustainable Business Practice

Government regulation and policy

Polluter Pays Principle

The Precautionary Principle

Extended Producer Responsibility

The Participatory Principle

Environmental management systems

Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)

Sustainable supply chain management

Change management

Natural Step

Eco-labels

Sharing networks

Corporate Reporting

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Green Accounting systems and Investment strategies

Case study: Supply chain innovation within the palm oil industry

Key terms

Discussion questions

End of chapter summary

Class Activity: Companies meeting SDGs

Chapter 10. New strategic thinking

Structural and social solutions

Collaboration and stakeholder engagement

Communication: ‘Talking the Walk’ initiatives

Understanding sustainable consumption

Consumer choice editing

Sharing economy

Realizing impacts: direct and indirect

Private and public action

Business and NGO cooperation

Green and ethical investment

Business and technological solutions

Business ecology

Industrial ecology

Life cycle assessment

Sustainable Design

Biomimicry

The Blue Economy

Case study: the rise of ‘slow fashion’

Key terms

Discussion questions

End of chapter summary

Class Activity: Sustainable and ethical investment

 

Chapter 11. Cradle to Cradle

Cradle to Cradle (C2C): the cycle of rebirth

Cradle-to-grave

Being ‘all good’: eco-efficiency versus eco-effectiveness

Nutrient cycles

Key principles of C2C

Waste = food

Use current solar income

Celebrate diversity

C2C Certification schemes

Material Health

Material Reutilization

Renewable Energy and Carbon Management

Water Stewardship

Social Fairness

Incorporating Cradle to Cradle design into products

Challenges to C2C

Case studies: Olio: Addressing food waste via an innovative circular business model

Key terms

Discussion questions

End of chapter summary

Class Activity: Student assignments Cradle to Cradle

 

Chapter 12. Towards circular economy

From optimizing existing models to revolutionary change

Background of circular economy concept

Drivers of change

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Product-service systems (PSS)

The question of design

Organization of processes

Disruptive innovation

Assessing progress towards circularity

Selected similarities between sustainability and the circular economy

The risk of subversion

Scaling up circular economy

Closing the loop

Summarizing hopeful sustainability frameworks

Case study: The circular economy – business as usual or a necessary change?

Key terms

Discussion questions

End of chapter summary

Class Activity: Cradle to Cradle and a circular economy

Glossary

Bibliography

Index

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Author(s)

Biography

Helen Kopnina (Ph.D. Cambridge University, 2002) is currently employed at Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK. Helen teaches sustainable business and conducts research within three main areas: sustainability, environmental education, and biological conservation. Helen (co)-authored over two hundred articles and seventeen books

Rory Padfield is an Associate Professor in the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds, the United Kingdom. He is programme leader for the MSc in Sustainability and Business at the University of Leeds, and co-leader for the Business and Organisations for Sustainable Societies (BOSS) research group. A trained development geographer Rory’s research focuses on the broad themes of supply chain and natural resource governance, communication of sustainability, and sustainability across and between different scales of businesses and organisations.

Josephine Mylan is a lecturer in Sustainability and Innovation at Alliance Manchester Business School. She is affiliated to both the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) and Institute for Innovation Research (MIoIR). Josephine’s research engages with questions of how societies can transition to less resource intensive ways of meeting our needs, with interests in: Sustainable consumption and production; Low carbon transitions; etc.

Reviews

"Sustainable Business: Key Issues is the first comprehensive introductory-level textbook to address the interface between environmental and social 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, the circular economy, Cradle to Cradle, steady-state-economy and degrowth.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."

Swales Willis

"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, 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, 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

"ustainable Business: Key Issues 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, 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."

Stuart Cooper, Professor of Accounting and Head of the Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Bristol, UK

"The book 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 of 21Sustainable, The Netherlands

"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