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The Sustainable Company: How to Create Lasting Value through Social and Environmental Performance Hardcover – September 1, 2003

3.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Corporations can indeed do well by doing good, argues this dutiful if not entirely convincing manifesto on responsible capitalism. Laszlo, a consultant and co-author of The Insight Edge: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Evolutionary Management, urges corporations to adopt a "planetary ethics" of environmental and social sustainability, one that cherishes "stakeholder value"-for everyone from employees to environmental activists-as much as shareholder value. He showcases companies whose enlightened policies have enhanced the bottom line in the form of reduced waste and cleanup costs, fewer regulatory hassles, new business opportunities and heightened appeal to socially conscious investors and green consumers. Laszlo endeavors to translate social and environmental concerns into the language of marketing and corporate strategy, writing in the kind of flow-charted, bullet-pointed management-ese ("Process cost reductions can be addressed in the framework of existing operational efficiency initiatives such as Six Sigma...") that executives feel they can understand and implement. So thorough is the corporate sustainability overhaul he demands that it involves "five logics," "five phases," "six areas of strategic focus" and "eight disciplines." Laszlo's belief that there are no unresolvable conflicts between shareholders and other stakeholders, or between profit and ethics, may strike readers as wishful thinking, and his assumption that self-interest will impel corporations to clean up their act can seem optimistic, but well-meaning executives will find much food for thought here if they can digest it.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Laszlo, a consultant with a corporate resume, contends that companies that make the transition from focusing exclusively on shareholder value to integrating into their bottom-line strategy stakeholders' economic, social, and environmental interests will significantly enhance innovation and growth. Using the terms corporate responsibility and sustainability interchangeably and identifying stakeholders as employees, local communities, and nature, the author notes that the likely leaders in sustainability will be the private or semiprivate companies with sales of $100 million to $2 billion; the largest corporations may fear stockholder lawsuits claiming their interests are not being served. He presents the basic concepts of sustainability, how it can be measured and benchmarked and how it can make good business sense, and he offers a tool kit for transforming an organization into one that creates sustainable value for shareholders and stakeholders. Although this book is clearly an infomercial for Laszlo's consulting activities, it offers an important roadmap for gaining marketplace advantage or "doing well by doing good." Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 2 edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559638362
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559638364
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,911,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Laszlo, Ph.D., is Professor of Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, where he is the Faculty Director for Research and Outreach at the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value. He is also Visiting Professor at the Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University. Chris is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Sustainable Value Partners, LLC, an advisory services firm specialized in sustainability for business advantage. Chris@SustainableValuePartners.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This landmark work helps managers assess the business value of sustainability. Many companies are keen to show that they are responsible corporate citizens. They are taking lots of actions on the environmental and social front, but have no idea which ones are important for their businesses. This book offered me a structured management process for thinking about "stakeholder" value-at-risk and value-opportunities. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a set of practical guidelines to integrating stakeholders into their company's core activities. It helped me to make the business case for greater corporate responsibility in a language that other managers could understand
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an effective primer on this important cultural trend and is divided into three parts:
(1) The basic ideas behind sustainable development and value
(2) Four examples of sustainable companies
(3) Some business tools for creating and measuring stakeholder value

In Part I, Chris Laszlo presents the key concepts, history, importance of developing an increasingly conscious, sustainable and responsible business. He covers all the major elements of sustainability (such as triple bottom-line, various stakeholders, measurements, ethics etc.) but in language that does not reduce these exciting topics and trends to dull, academic abstraction. Most interesting is Part II on successful corporate models of sustainability (such as Patagonia clothing, ARCO) which give a real human face to the concepts. Many managers will find most useful the charts, graphs, models for creating, communicating and managing an effective sustainability program. Its not an MBA-level of detail, but a solid, conceptual starting point that will be appreciated to those newer to these ideas. However, I found his language a more academically labored in Part III, reducing its effectiveness to engage. Other popular books on the topic worth reading are "Natural Capitalism" and "Cradle-to-Cradle."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rather than take an integrative, systems approach, Laszlo prescribes 8 disciplines which seem to add another layer onto corporate strategy. This is at odds to the CSR strategies employed by many of the leading companies today who integrate social responsibility into their core business. The nail in the coffin for this book, and a point which highlights the superficial nature of the value creation toolkit, is the forward was written by the CEO of BP in January of 2003.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Came in fairly quick, good condition, great read. Interesting amount of case studies for ecologically aware companies. Chris Lazlo writes in a very easy to follow narrative.
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