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Embedded Sustainability: The Next Big Competitive Advantage Hardcover – April 13, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Business Books (April 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804775540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804775540
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Sustainability thought leader Chris Laszlo and his co-author Zhexembayeva's new book is a magnificent and highly readable tour de force of business strategy and innovation that shows how sustainability is a natural and important progression in thinking about business value. They make a crucial distinction between earlier piecemeal ('bolt-on') approaches to sustainability and the newer generation of strategies that embed sustainability within the core business of the enterprise. The book is a must-read for all serious business executives and managers. It illustrates key points through case studies and examples that provide a clear understanding of how to execute on a strategy of embedded sustainability."—Dr. Ram Nidumolu, Founder and CEO, InnovaStrat, Inc.


"Business strategy and competitive advantage are essentially about choice and discipline, though rising ecological and social pressures have left many organizations around the world floundering in terms of what those strategic choices and discipline should look like. Smart leaders will quickly seize on Laszlo and Zhexembayeva's blueprint for embedded sustainability as the foundation for the new economic logic of competitive advantage. Embedded sustainability is the essential discipline for market leaders."—Mason Carpenter, M. Keith Weikel Professor of Leadership, University of Wisconsin–Madison


"We are in the midst of a tectonic shift: The industrial corporate model of the 19th century is dying and being replaced by the sustainable enterprise model of the 21st century. In this new world of declining resources, radical transparency, and increasing expectations, 'corporate social responsibility' will no longer be enough. In this book, Laszlo and Zhexembayeva show clearly that the defining characteristic of the successful 21st century corporation will be its ability to embed sustainability in every fibre of its being. And, even more importantly, embedded sustainability will hold the key to future profit and value creation."—Stuart L. Hart, S. C. Johnson Chair in Sustainable Global Enterprise, Cornell University and author of Capitalism at the Crossroads


"Chris Laszlo and Nadya Zhexembayeva have not only created a compelling guide for businesses to do well while doing good through Embedded Sustainability. They have also affirmed the critical importance of linking rigorous analytical developments to the testing ground of engagement with real-world problem solving. This book should be required reading in the programs from which future business leaders will emerge."—Rebecca Chopp, President, Swarthmore College

About the Author

Chris Laszlo, Ph.D., is the author of Sustainable Value: How the World's Leading Companies Are Doing Well by Doing Good (2008) and The Sustainable Company (2003, paperback 2005). He is an Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, where he is the Faculty Research Director at the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value. Chris is also the co-founder and Managing Partner of Sustainable Value Partners, LLC, an advisory services firm specialized in sustainability for business advantage. 
Nadya Zhexembayeva, Ph.D., is the Coca-Cola Chair of Sustainable Development at IEDC-Bled School of Management, the European business school based in Slovenia, where she teaches leadership, organizational design, and sustainability strategy. Nadya currently serves as Vice-President of Challenge:Future, a global youth think tank. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value at the Weatherhead School of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio. Nadya is also an Associate Partner of Sustainable Value Partners, LLC.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The concepts of tying business and sustainability are amazing and I highly recommend reading the book.
Nikhil
Laszlo and Zhexembayeva's premise for their book is that we now live in a world of declining resources, radical transparency, and increasing expectations.
Mary Gorham
This book clearly illustrates the importance of embedding sustainability into any organization and provides a guide on how to do so.
E. Yesko

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ante Glavas on March 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Embedded Sustainability is a must read for any business leader and actually anyone living on this planet. The authors provide a compelling case that it's not a choice whether business should embrace sustainability. If a business is to succeed, sustainability should be part of a company's DNA due to declining resources, increased (radical) transparency, and also increasing expectations from stakeholders. However, the question still remains as to how to embrace sustainability. Others have noted as well - such as studies by McKinsey as well as Boston Consulting Group and MIT - that sustainability is not a choice for companies anymore. However, what is missing is understanding the how of embedding sustainability into a company's strategy and daily operations. In that respect, the authors provide an excellent roadmap for organizations. Actually, I do not know of any other book at this time that does so. That is why I think it is a must read. If sustainability is no longer a choice and if there is no better current resource on how to implement it, Embedded Sustainability is a book any manager who wants to succeed needs to read.

Although the book is written in business venacular, implicit in the book is a positive message and hope for the future. If our planet is to become sustainable, not only must business be part of the solution; but also, business can also transform its own image. Currently, business leaders are among the least trusted and most looked "down upon" people in society (very close to politicians). Yet, it can be these same business leaders that can help us get out of this mess we created.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kevin D. Lynch, Ph.D. on June 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Embedded Sustainability makes a compelling case that sustainability is here to stay, and that organizational leaders should embrace the opportunities created by this new phenomenon. Premising their case on the three distinct but interconnected trends of declining resources, radical transparency, and increasing expectations, Laszlo and Zhexembayeva present a powerful new paradigm to turn these challenges into organizational advantage.

Highlighting that the boundaries between organizations, customers, the media and government are blurring, the authors argue that it is time for sustainability to migrate from a bolt-on strategy running parallel to the organization's key strategy to becoming holistically embedded in the culture and operational dynamics of the organization.

A must-read for senior leaders of organizations of all sizes, as well as consultants and scholars, this book describes how to create strategy that creates value for both shareholders and stakeholders of the organization - a concept that the authors term sustainable value. What differentiates this book from other sustainability books is that the authors' work is founded upon research, and not just supposition, while maintaining easy readability. In taking this scholarly approach, this book avoids the trap of ideology that so often surrounds sustainability, and delivers a pragmatic roadmap for organizations serious about competing in the new world reality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Gorham on May 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Embedded Sustainability is a "must read" for business leaders who want to learn how to create a winning business strategy for their company by embedding environmentally and socially sustainable business practices. Laszlo and Zhexembayeva's premise for their book is that we now live in a world of declining resources, radical transparency, and increasing expectations. Because of this changed landscape, there are now new opportunities to gain a competitive advantage through the incorporation of sustainable practices.

While the authors would undoubtedly acknowledge that sustainable practices are environmentally and socially beneficial, the book is not about promoting environmental or social responsibility for its own sake. Hence, their arguments are not moral in nature. Instead, they describe through numerous examples how embedding sustainability into the DNA of one's business strategy and operations (with no tradeoffs in price or quality) can create the kind of deep sustainable value that leads to business success.

Several aspects of the book are particularly impressive. First are their numerous real world examples of how sustainable practices can be used to improve one's strategic positioning in an existing market, as well as create new uncontested market space. Second, are their descriptions of the processes used by numerous companies to make such changes.

Toward the end of the book, the authors' tone changes radically as they share a vision of a possible sustainable future through the eyes of a remarkably smart fictional job seeker, Jake, in year 2041. Through this story format, the reader is invited to imagine what "business as usual" might mean when sustainability is fully embedded in corporate strategy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K Hagen on December 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I teach in one of the leading "green" MBA programs and I find this book so helpful and instructional that I assign it for students. There are a lot of books on sustainability, but I find this author insightful and truly helpful for understanding what it really means and how to really do it for your business.
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