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The New Sustainability Advantage: Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom Line Paperback – April 10, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 19 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Review Triple Pundit June 27, 2012 by Connie Kwan

Bob Willard’s 10th Anniversary book, The New Sustainability Advantage, is an update of the old with new examples. For sustainability non-believers, his book is a great first guide. It succinctly summarizes bottom-line benefits of sustainable practices in relevant business terms. In a Forrester survey of over 2000 executives regarding top 10 business priorities in 2011, 64% of executives selected revenue and customers, 44% selected cost reduction, while only 10% selected corporate social responsibility (CSR). For CSR professionals, messaging the revenue increase and cost reduction benefits of CSR efforts continues to be key in driving CSR implementation.

Willard points out seven business case benefits of a Triple Bottom Line and provides short examples of how to implement these practices. The benefits are:
1. Increased Revenue and Market Share
2. Reduced Energy Expenses
3. Reduced Waste Expenses
4. Reduced Materials and Water Expenses
5. Increased Employee Productivity
6. Reduced Hiring and Attrition Expenses
7. Reduced Risks
For sustainability practitioners, these benefits are nothing new. For everyone else, Willard’s guidebook provides a quick read to begin the CSR conversation. For every chapter, Willard first inspires the reader with examples of successes. For example, USPS reduced energy use by 29 percent from 2003 to 2010. Then, Willard provides first level information to trigger an analysis. For example, knowing that the top three energy use in commercial buildings are lighting (25 percent use), space heating (14 percent use), and space cooling (13 percent use) helps prioritize the energy reduction process. In some cases, Willard provides an illustrative financial analysis of potential savings at a small firm and at a large firm.

Since many of the seven benefits focus on energy, waste and materials, businesses with manufacturing and physical products will find Willard’s book most relevant. Customers also pay closer attention to sustainability on physical goods. A Cohn and Wolfe survey of consumers’ intent to buy green shows 53% support for ‘green’ groceries and 49% support for ‘green’ household products, compared to 15% support for ‘green’ restaurants and technology. Although customers pay less attention to sustainability from service-only businesses, benefits still exist. Service-only businesses depend heavily on employee performance to succeed, and thus will find sustainability benefit five and six, employee productivity and retention, very relevant. For example, a green office building provides up to 34% or $40 per square feet increase in productivity. Meanwhile, job hunters place a 30% emphasis on compensation and benefits and a 15% emphasis on organizational values and reputation. A business that cares about social and environmental returns will more successfully recruit and retain top talent.

Willard’s book is a useful introduction to the business case for sustainability. Gifting it to the whole leadership team can be a great way to bring everyone up to speed on applied sustainability basics. The book is a great conversation starter and Willard’s site provides useful slide sets and worksheets.

Review The Green Market, March 26, 2012 by Richard Matthews

The recently released book The New Sustainability Advantage, proves that the quantified business case for sustainability is more compelling than ever before. This is a revised version of the 2002 book The Sustainability Advantage. The new book makes an even more compelling business case for sustainability strategies than described in its 2002 version.

Based on recent case studies, the book shows that if a typical company were to use best-practice sustainability approaches already being used by real companies, it could improve its profit by at least 51% to 81% within three to five years, while avoiding a potential 16% to 36% erosion of profits if it does nothing. The fully revised business case is organized around seven easy-to-grasp bottom-line benefits that align with current evidence about the most significant sustainability-related contributors to:
increase profit
increase revenue
reduce energy expenses
reduce waste expenses
reduce materials and water expenses
increase employee productivity
reduce hiring and attrition expenses
reduce strategic and operational risks
The new version is a 90% rewrite of the 2002 version. Compared to the first version of The Sustainability Advantage, it has three other enhancements beyond the more compelling business case and the new list of benefits:
• It more rigorously estimates 14 risks to profit if a company chooses to opt out of the sustainability imperative.
• It calculates the potential bottom-line benefits for both a typical large corporation and a typical small enterprise.
• It is formatted in the same concise two-page, text-and-sidebar treatment of each subtopic that is used in two other books written by Bob Willard.
This excellent book is a must read for all business people.


This book is an invaluable read for sustainability insiders as well as first timers. The structure of The New Sustainability Advantage is so well thought through that it allows the reader to get the information they need quickly and efficiently. Beyond the impressive data and logic of the business case for sustainability, the real lessons lie in the humility, creativity, persistence and passion for which Willard has become internationally renowned.
—Dr. James Gray-Donald, Associate Vice-President, Sustainability Leader,
Sears Canada Inc.

In his book, The New Sustainability Advantage, Bob Willard articulates the business case for sustainability and the alignment of the for-profit mandate with the pursuit of environmental and social benefits. Using examples, he demonstrates that sustainability is a material source of business value when employed as a strategic framework for innovation, value creation, and organizational enhancement. Milton Friedman’s edict — that the business of business is business, and the creation of shareholder profit is its fundamental mandate — is just as true now as it ever was. Yet — as the reader discovers — what has changed is the context within which business operates, and thus how one bounds this edict in the pursuit of sustainable capitalism. The sources of value available to business and the competitive forces acting upon it are dynamic. We should not be surprised by shifts in business criteria, sources of value, or changes in the business activities required delivering a winning value proposition.
—Tyler J. Elm, Vice President, Business Sustainability, Canadian Tire Corporation

Through his new book, Bob gives us a more compelling business case for sustainable practices that help the bottom line by capitalizing on employees’ emotional engagement and culture change. His business case for investing in sustainability strategies is realistic, achievable, and profitable.
—Claude Ouimet, Senior V.P. General Manager for Canada and Latin America
at InterfaceFLOR


10 years after publishing his ground-breaking book, Bob Willard continues his thought-leadership with The New Sustainability Advantage, an even more compelling updated case for businesses of all size to reap the benefits of advancing sustainability. His thorough research and impeccable credentials have the power to both convince skeptics and arm champions. Bob’s well laid out balance of risk and opportunity inspires those businesses already addressing sustainability issues to push further and deeper for even greater triple-bottom-line impacts. By providing resources, worksheets and on-line material to empower businesses to do it themselves, Bob is proactively building the sustainable world he wants to live in.
—Barbara Turley McIntyre, Director Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship,
The Co-Operators Group Limited

Willard’s latest update adds some important ideas to the field of sustainability. He has assembled some of the best data and case studies available on why and how sustainability creates enduring value for companies. Before organizations can really commit and learn to compete on sustainability, they need to really understand all aspects of the business case for driving green deep into strategy. Willard’s book is an indispensable resource and an easy read, which doesn’t go together often.
— Andrew Winston, environmental strategist and co-author of the international bestseller Green to Gold

Going green is highly profitable. Bob Willard documents this fact in case study after case study: His analysis is spot on. Cutting carbon is really a proxy for cutting energy and electricity — hence cutting cost. With a good green story companies are raising revenue because consumers want to buy from a company that isn’t destroying the future of their children and grandchildren. Going green also mitigates risk against rising energy prices. So sustainability cut cost, raises revenue and mitigates risk. This book is a must read for every executive who is concerned about the bottom line — and their corporate license to operate.
— Jim Harris, International bestselling author, Former Leader, Green Party of Canada


Review Triple Pundit June 27, 2012 by Connie Kwan

Bob Willard’s 10th Anniversary book, The New Sustainability Advantage, is an update of the old with new examples. For sustainability non-believers, his book is a great first guide. It succinctly summarizes bottom-line benefits of sustainable practices in relevant business terms. In a Forrester survey of over 2000 executives regarding top 10 business priorities in 2011, 64% of executives selected revenue and customers, 44% selected cost reduction, while only 10% selected corporate social responsibility (CSR). For CSR professionals, messaging the revenue increase and cost reduction benefits of CSR efforts continues to be key in driving CSR implementation.

Willard points out seven business case benefits of a Triple Bottom Line and provides short examples of how to implement these practices. The benefits are:
1. Increased Revenue and Market Share
2. Reduced Energy Expenses
3. Reduced Waste Expenses
4. Reduced Materials and Water Expenses
5. Increased Employee Productivity
6. Reduced Hiring and Attrition Expenses
7. Reduced Risks
For sustainability practitioners, these benefits are nothing new. For everyone else, Willard’s guidebook provides a quick read to begin the CSR conversation. For every chapter, Willard first inspires the reader with examples of successes. For example, USPS reduced energy use by 29 percent from 2003 to 2010. Then, Willard provides first level information to trigger an analysis. For example, knowing that the top three energy use in commercial buildings are lighting (25 percent use), space heating (14 percent use), and space cooling (13 percent use) helps prioritize the energy reduction process. In some cases, Willard provides an illustrative financial analysis of potential savings at a small firm and at a large firm.

Since many of the seven benefits focus on energy, waste and materials, businesses with manufacturing and physical products will find Willard’s book most relevant. Customers also pay closer attention to sustainability on physical goods. A Cohn and Wolfe survey of consumers’ intent to buy green shows 53% support for ‘green’ groceries and 49% support for ‘green’ household products, compared to 15% support for ‘green’ restaurants and technology. Although customers pay less attention to sustainability from service-only businesses, benefits still exist. Service-only businesses depend heavily on employee performance to succeed, and thus will find sustainability benefit five and six, employee productivity and retention, very relevant. For example, a green office building provides up to 34% or $40 per square feet increase in productivity. Meanwhile, job hunters place a 30% emphasis on compensation and benefits and a 15% emphasis on organizational values and reputation. A business that cares about social and environmental returns will more successfully recruit and retain top talent.

Willard’s book is a useful introduction to the business case for sustainability. Gifting it to the whole leadership team can be a great way to bring everyone up to speed on applied sustainability basics. The book is a great conversation starter and Willard’s site provides useful slide sets and worksheets.

Review The Green Market, March 26, 2012 by Richard Matthews

The recently released book The New Sustainability Advantage, proves that the quantified business case for sustainability is more compelling than ever before. This is a revised version of the 2002 book The Sustainability Advantage. The new book makes an even more compelling business case for sustainability strategies than described in its 2002 version.

Based on recent case studies, the book shows that if a typical company were to use best-practice sustainability approaches already being used by real companies, it could improve its profit by at least 51% to 81% within three to five years, while avoiding a potential 16% to 36% erosion of profits if it does nothing. The fully revised business case is organized around seven easy-to-grasp bottom-line benefits that align with current evidence about the most significant sustainability-related contributors to:
  • increase profit
  • increase revenue
  • reduce energy expenses
  • reduce waste expenses
  • reduce materials and water expenses
  • increase employee productivity
  • reduce hiring and attrition expenses
  • reduce strategic and operational risks

  • The new version is a 90% rewrite of the 2002 version. Compared to the first version of The Sustainability Advantage, it has three other enhancements beyond the more compelling business case and the new list of benefits:
    • It more rigorously estimates 14 risks to profit if a company chooses to opt out of the sustainability imperative.
    • It calculates the potential bottom-line benefits for both a typical large corporation and a typical small enterprise.
    • It is formatted in the same concise two-page, text-and-sidebar treatment of each subtopic that is used in two other books written by Bob Willard.
    This excellent book is a must read for all business people.


    This book is an invaluable read for sustainability insiders as well as first timers. The structure of The New Sustainability Advantage is so well thought through that it allows the reader to get the information they need quickly and efficiently. Beyond the impressive data and logic of the business case for sustainability, the real lessons lie in the humility, creativity, persistence and passion for which Willard has become internationally renowned.
    ―Dr. James Gray-Donald, Associate Vice-President, Sustainability Leader,
    Sears Canada Inc.

    In his book, The New Sustainability Advantage, Bob Willard articulates the business case for sustainability and the alignment of the for-profit mandate with the pursuit of environmental and social benefits. Using examples, he demonstrates that sustainability is a material source of business value when employed as a strategic framework for innovation, value creation, and organizational enhancement. Milton Friedman’s edict ― that the business of business is business, and the creation of shareholder profit is its fundamental mandate ― is just as true now as it ever was. Yet ― as the reader discovers ― what has changed is the context within which business operates, and thus how one bounds this edict in the pursuit of sustainable capitalism. The sources of value available to business and the competitive forces acting upon it are dynamic. We should not be surprised by shifts in business criteria, sources of value, or changes in the business activities required delivering a winning value proposition.
    ―Tyler J. Elm, Vice President, Business Sustainability, Canadian Tire Corporation

    Through his new book, Bob gives us a more compelling business case for sustainable practices that help the bottom line by capitalizing on employees’ emotional engagement and culture change. His business case for investing in sustainability strategies is realistic, achievable, and profitable.
    ―Claude Ouimet, Senior V.P. General Manager for Canada and Latin America
    at InterfaceFLOR


    10 years after publishing his ground-breaking book, Bob Willard continues his thought-leadership with The New Sustainability Advantage, an even more compelling updated case for businesses of all size to reap the benefits of advancing sustainability. His thorough research and impeccable credentials have the power to both convince skeptics and arm champions. Bob’s well laid out balance of risk and opportunity inspires those businesses already addressing sustainability issues to push further and deeper for even greater triple-bottom-line impacts. By providing resources, worksheets and on-line material to empower businesses to do it themselves, Bob is proactively building the sustainable world he wants to live in.
    ―Barbara Turley McIntyre, Director Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship,
    The Co-Operators Group Limited

    Willard’s latest update adds some important ideas to the field of sustainability. He has assembled some of the best data and case studies available on why and how sustainability creates enduring value for companies. Before organizations can really commit and learn to compete on sustainability, they need to really understand all aspects of the business case for driving green deep into strategy. Willard’s book is an indispensable resource and an easy read, which doesn’t go together often.
    ― Andrew Winston, environmental strategist and co-author of the international bestseller Green to Gold

    Going green is highly profitable. Bob Willard documents this fact in case study after case study: His analysis is spot on. Cutting carbon is really a proxy for cutting energy and electricity ― hence cutting cost. With a good green story companies are raising revenue because consumers want to buy from a company that isn’t destroying the future of their children and grandchildren. Going green also mitigates risk against rising energy prices. So sustainability cut cost, raises revenue and mitigates risk. This book is a must read for every executive who is concerned about the bottom line ― and their corporate license to operate.
    ― Jim Harris, International bestselling author, Former Leader, Green Party of Canada

    From the Back Cover

    SMART SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGIES BENEFIT THE BOTTOM LINE

    10 years after publishing his ground-breaking book, Bob Willard continues his thought-leadership with The New Sustainability Advantage, an even more compelling updated case for businesses of all size to reap the benefits of advancing sustainability. His thorough research and impeccable credentials have the power to both convince sceptics and arm champions. ― Barbara Turley McIntyre, Director Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, The Co-Operators Group Limited

    The business case for sustainability is more compelling than ever before. The New Sustainability Advantage quantifies the benefits which can be realized from smart sustainability strategies, and the potential risks of ignoring them.
    Fully revised and updated, this 10th anniversary edition clearly demonstrates that, by focusing on seven powerful yet easy-to-grasp sustainability strategies, businesses can:
  • Increase revenue
  • Improve productivity
  • Reduce expenses
  • Decrease risks.
    Expressed in clear business language and presented in an appealing, graphically rich format, this practical guide and accompanying online tools enable executives to quickly identify high-leverage benefit areas for their organization, drill down into specific areas of interest and fine-tune assumptions to their specific situation.
    The New Sustainability Advantage shows that shrewd businesses that incorporate sustainability strategies are well-positioned to financially outperform their competitors in the 21st century. Companies that lag will be history, trapped in the hoax of an unsustainable business model. Companies that lead will have the sustainability advantage.

    …an invaluable read for sustainability insiders as well as first timers… beyond the impressive data and logic of the business case for sustainability, the real lessons lie in the humility, creativity, persistence and passion for which Bob has become internationally renowned. ― Dr. James Gray-Donald, Associate Vice-President, Sustainability Leader, Sears Canada Inc.

    Bob Willard gave up an award-winning, successful career in senior management at IBM to devote himself full-time to building corporate commitment to sustainability. He has delivered hundreds of presentations worldwide demonstrating the business case for sustainability and was recently appointed an inaugural member of the Sustainability Hall of Fame by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals. Bob is the author of The Sustainability Champion's Guidebook, The Next Sustainability Wave, and the original edition of The Sustainability Advantage.


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    Product details

    • Publisher ‏ : ‎ New Society Publishers; Tenth Anniversary edition (April 10, 2012)
    • Language ‏ : ‎ English
    • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
    • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0865717125
    • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0865717121
    • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 12.5 ounces
    • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.25 x 0.75 x 9.25 inches
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