The Sustainable MBA: A Business Guide to Sustainability

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-12-31
  • Publisher: Wiley
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Supplemental Materials

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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
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Whether you are an employee, a manager, an entrepreneur or a CEO, The Sustainable MBA Second Edition provides the knowledge and tools to help you ‘green’ your job and organization, to turn sustainability talk into action for the benefit of your bottom line and society as a whole.

Based on more than 150 interviews with experts in business, international organizations, NGOs and universities from around the world, this book brings together all the pieces of the business and sustainability puzzle including:

  • What sustainability is, why you should be interested, how to get started, and what a sustainable organization looks like.
  • A wide range of tools, guidelines, techniques and concepts that you can use to implement sustainability practices.
  • Information on how to be a sustainability champion or intrapraneur in your organization including how to sell these ideas to your team and how to incorporate them into any job.
  •  A survey of the exciting trends in sustainable business happening around the world.
  •  A wealth of links to interesting resources for more information.

The Sustainable MBA Second Edition is organized like a business school course, allowing you easy access to the relevant information you need about sustainability as it relates to Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Ethics, Finance, Marketing, Organizational Behavior and HR, Operations and Strategy.

The Sustainable MBA Second Edition has been updated to reflect global developments in this evolving field to remain the definitive guide to sustainable business. Additional resources to accompany the book are available at www.thesustainablemba.com.

Author Biography

Giselle Weybrecht is determined to make sustainability everybody’s business. Her work is focused on how to inspire and engage the next generation of business leaders to not only understand sustainability, but to put it into practice in ways that make sense for the environment, society and business. She has 15 years of experience working in sustainability in particular with the United Nations but also with governments, universities, NGOs, businesses and entrepreneurs. Giselle has a MBA from London Business School and is a frequent lecturer at universities around the world.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Part 1: Setting The Scene 1

Chapter 1: About this book 3

Who is The Sustainable MBA for and why should I read it? 5

What you will find in The Sustainable MBA? 7

How The Sustainable MBA is organized 8

Ideas on how  to use this book 9

Planet Earth fact sheet 10

Chapter 2: What is sustainability?13

The basics 13

Other definitions 15

Sustainable development: a global effort 18

Working together – stakeholders in sustainability

Chapter 3: What does this mean for business? 21

The sustainability sales pitch 27

Chapter 4: The sustainability journey 31

What does a leading company look like? 34

Chapter 5: Getting started 39

Getting past internal excuses 47

Part 2: The Core Topics 49

Chapter 6: Accounting 53

Why is it important? 54

The Key Concepts 55

Full or true cost accounting 56

Materiality 58

Key performance indicators 61

Measuring social impact 63

Sustainability in financial statements  65

Integrated Reporting

Assurance 68

Challenges 70

Trends and new ideas 72

Bringing it all together 72

Increased disclosure 72

Recognizing unrecognized assets 73

Different forms of reporting

Sustainability reporting 75

Chapter 7: Economics 81

Why is it important? 82

The Key concepts 83

Sustainable consumption 84

The commons  85

Externalities 87

Market based instruments 90

Re-evaluating metrics 93

Emerging markets 95

Challenges 98

Trends and new ideas 99

Alternative trading system 100

A new economic model 100

Estimating the costs of inaction 101

From free to fee 102

Valuing future generations 103

Regulatory Instruments

Environmental valuation 105

Business and the world’s poor 109

Chapter 8: Entrepreneurship 115

Why is it important? 116

The Key concepts  117

Exploring new business models

Social/environmental entrepreneurs 119

Intrapraneurship 121

Generating ideas 123

Funding 126

Challenges  128

Trends and new ideas 129

Merging and Selling

Microbusinesses 129

Social stock exchange 129

Big business working with SMEs 130

Marketing on a shoestring 131

Some advice for entrepreneurs 134


Chapter 9: Ethics and corporate governance  137

Why is it important?  138

The Key concepts 139

Business and human rights 139

Labour and working conditions 142

Ethics and the individual manager 144

Corporate governance 146

Corruption 148

Bribery 150

The power of media

Challenges  152

Trends and new ideas 153

Transparency and honesty 153


Crowdsourcing the truth

The company of the future 154

Whistleblowing 155

The role of the CEO 158

Chapter 10: Finance 161

Why is it important?   162

The Key concepts 163

Sustainable investment 163

Integrating ESG

Fiduciary responsibilities 166

Shareholder Engagement

Ratings and Indexes

Project finance 173

Challenges  175

Trends and new ideas 176

Cross-disciplinary collaboration

New landscape for corporate ownership 176

Insurance and sustainability 177

The role of the CFO

Focus on long-term value 178

A new kind of bank 178

Microfinance 182

Chapter 11: Marketing 187

Why is it important? 188

The Key concepts 189

People 189

Products 193

Price 195

Place: retailers and sustainability 198

Packaging 201

Eco-labels 204

Social marketing 207

Cause-related marketing 210

Challenges 212

Trends and new ideas 213

Green = inexpensive 213

From eco-iconic to eco-embedded 214

Understanding how people think 215

Communicating with the customer . . . virtually 215



The barcode reinvented 216

Advertising dos and don’ts 218

Chapter 12: Operations 223

Why is it important? 224

The Key concepts 225

Eco-design 226

‘Green’ chemistry 228

Doing more with less 230

Sustainable technology 232

Suppliers 234

Transportation 237

Waste management 240

Challenges  244

Trends and new ideas 245

Inspiration from nature 245

Products that do more 246

Traceability 247

Manufacturing differently

Instant Feedback focused on better use 247

Exploring new materials 248

Co-creation and crowdsourcing

Life cycle analysis 249

Information Technology and Systems

Chapter 13: Organizational behavior 255

Why is it important? 256

The Key concepts 257

Creating a ‘sustainability’ culture 257

Communicating sustainability internally 259

Recruiting—who is interviewing whom? 261

Employee engagement in sustainability 263

Aligning incentives 265

Talent development and training 267

Challenges  269

Trends and new ideas 271

Diversity 271

Skills for Sustainability

Creating great workplaces 272

Changing the way we talk 273

Rise of the CSO

Managing change 276

Chapter 14: Strategy 279

Why is it important? 280

The Key concepts 281

Understanding the wider business environment 282

Understanding where you stand 283

Understanding risk 285

Exploring different strategies 288

Setting objectives and goals 291

Working with others 292

Influencing change 295

Challenges  298

Trends and new ideas 299

Reinventing the business model 299

Zero and 100 % 299

Instant information 300

Getting your customers involved


Strategic philanthropy 301

Competition turns into collaboration

Transformation of partners 301

Why do Initiatives fail? 303

Stakeholder engagement 304

Part 3: Tools 313

Chapter 15: Tools for monitoring, managing and improving performance 315

Assessments 315

Example: Conducting an environmental or social risk assessment 318

Audits 319

Example: waste audit 321

Environmental and social management systems 321

Choosing standards and codes 324

Chapter 16: Tools for greening offices and buildings 327

Steps for setting up office greening programmes 328

Buildings 329

Energy 331

Water 332

Waste and recycling 333

Paper 335

Electronics 336

All those other little things 337

Commuting to work 338

Organizing green events and meetings 341

Putting together a green team 343

Performance contracting 345

Part 4: Wrapping it All Up 347

Chapter 17: What can I do? 349

As an employee—leading by example 349

As a consumer—putting your money where your mouth is 351

As a citizen—be active in your community 353

Chapter 18: What will the future bring? 355

What the future will bring

Twenty-one wise words of advice 357

Additional resources: who, what, where and how 361

Who: different groups 361

What: sustainability issues 366

Where: around the world 371

How: keeping up to date 376

Endnotes 381

Index 387

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