21 Leading CEOS Show How to Do Well by Doing Good
Mark Lefko, Morgan James Publishing Softcover $17.95 (146pp), 978-1-68350-176-3
Clear and concise, Global Sustainability, with examples drawn from the corporate world, functions as a manual for large-scale business sustainability.
Though it does deal with ecological sustainability, this book tackles sustainability in every sense, encompassing community economics, employee ownership, and public image. The author has done a fine job lining up high-profile business types, including Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines and Walter Robb of Whole Foods, to deliver advice for the aspiring sustainable business. The message is that sustainable business is not only possible, but preferable and profitable.
The approach is practical to the extreme, even to the point of nearly ignoring the usual ethically and morally high-minded reasons for engaging in sustainability. This turns out to be its most significant strength, and in itself may represent an innovation in the climate-change and social-responsibility discussions as far as the business world is concerned.
The author presents many solid old arguments in fresh, convincing ways. Several hinge on aspects of the modern world that would not have made sense twenty years ago, such as the existence of the Internet. Additionally, the book avoids politics altogether. It covers solely the business world and proposes that business is powerful enough—and self-interested enough— to change the world for its own good. Takeaway summary points at the end of each brief chapter represent reliable shorthand for businesspeople who find themselves without the calendar space to devote to an overly philosophical or academic look at sustainability in business. This is a book from an author who both knows whom he is talking to and who speaks their language fluently.
In general, Global Sustainability is likelier to be useful to experienced, established businesses, especially large ones, than to small startups. Within large companies, this book should be considered required reading.