The demands and stresses on companies only grow as executives face a multitude of competing business goals. Their stakeholders are interested in corporate profits, jobs, business growth, and environmental sustainability. In this book, business strategy expert Yossi Sheffi offers a pragmatic take on how businesses of all sizes—from Coca Cola and Siemens to Dr. Bronner’s Magical Soaps and Patagonia—navigate these competing goals. Drawing on extensive interviews with more than 250 executives, Sheffi examines the challenges, solutions, and implications of balancing traditional business goals with sustainability.
Sheffi, author of the widely read The Resilient Enterprise, argues that business executives’ personal opinions on environmental sustainability are irrelevant. The business merits of environmental sustainability are based on the fact that even the most ardent climate change skeptics in the C-suite face natural resource costs, public relations problems, regulatory burdens, and a green consumer segment. Sheffi presents three basic business rationales for corporate sustainability efforts: cutting costs, reducing risk, and achieving growth.
For companies, sustainability is not a simple case of “profits versus planet” but is instead a more subtle issue of (some) people versus (other) people—those looking for jobs and inexpensive goods versus others who seek a pristine environment. This book aims to help companies satisfy these conflicting motivations for both economic growth and environmental sustainability.