The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook: When it All Comes Together

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Overview

Building an organization’s commitment to sustainability is not just a means to enhancing the health, diversity, and strength of the world’s ecosystems but a financially and socially sound best practice as well. The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook helps readers understand what sustainability means, and how they can implement it in their organization. Collecting the wisdom of an outstanding network of experts, the book uses models, tools, case studies, and examples from a wide range of companies to show readers how they can:

manage the transition to an eco-friendly culture • foster employee engagement • integrate sustainability into the day-to-day realities of their business • oversee both short-and long-term goals for their sustainability initiatives

Also included are metrics allowing readers to measure their efforts in promoting an environmentally responsible organization. This book provides the crucial guidance organizations need to make money and make a difference.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A very user-friendly and practical book on sustainability. It is well written and comprehensive, very clear, and concise in its explanations and applicable examples.” People & Strategy

"this book offers a compilation of excellent, practical resources for developing a sustainable enterprise." --Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814412787
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 9/18/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeana Wirtenberg, Ph.D. (Montville, NJ) is President of Jeana Wirtenberg & Associates, a consulting firm that focuses on sustainability issues.

William G. Russell (Leonia, NJ) is the Founder of SKN Worldwide-USA, a sustainability consulting company.

David Lipsky, Ph.D. (Highland Mills, NY) is a senior consultant with Conversant.

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Read an Excerpt

Foreword

Georg Kell, Executive Head, UN Global Compact

Businesses are challenged as never before by the unrelenting and ever-increasing

demands posed by the global economy and the marketplace to address the concerns of

a wide range of critical stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, employees,

and communities, both locally and around the world.

Technology and deregulation have unleashed an unprecedented expansion of business

activities over the past quarter of a century. Many companies have gone global

while governments have remained local. Businesses, large and small, are learning to

integrate into a global marketplace that offers scale and efficiency gains.

New markets have been developed and much progress has been made in bringing

hundreds of millions of people out of abject poverty. At the same time, poverty persists

in many parts of the world, inequity has been on the rise, and the impact of human

activities on the natural environment threatens our survival as a species.

We cannot predict the future, but the certainty of the major disruptive forces we are

witnessing every day makes a compelling case for us to reexamine our fundamental values,

shift our priorities, and shape a new strategic direction to create a more sustainable

world.

How will we master this global transformation to a sustainable future? Where will

leadership come from? Will we be able to extend the benefits of productivity gains to

those who need them most while safeguarding our natural environment? Will openness

as an economic and political idea prevail, or will we fall back into discriminatory behavior,

building walls and creating enemies? Will we be able to provide stewardship that

thrives on and cultivates the creativity of people and enterprises while safeguarding the

common good? Are we willing — and are we capable enough — to change our patterns

of consumption and lifestyles so that they meet our most basic human needs while considering

those of future generations? Can we build incentive systems that reward and

reinforce good environmental, social, and governance performance?

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Never before have we been so dependent on each

other.

There is always hope that policy-makers will eventually provide leadership. But all

too often they are concerned with territorial constituency building or the sheer desire

to maintain a hold on power. Few policy-makers are able, or willing, to take on global

perspectives or a long-term vision that goes beyond election cycles.

Business can hardly afford to wait for this to happen. The changing landscape has

made it imperative that business help architect and execute the solution. The notion and

practice of business responsibility and the search for practical solutions has evolved

over the past two decades. Business increasingly understands that the search for sustainability

is not just about avoiding costs; it is increasingly about creating business

value and inventing models that deliver societal and market success.

Clearly, the role of business is undergoing a profound transformation. The most obvious

is the need to manage risks in an interdependent world. As business has become

global, it can no longer take refuge behind one home government. It needs to learn to

deal simultaneously with different regulatory and societal realities. At the same time,

the pursuit of global integration and the sophistication of dispersed supply chains has

created new vulnerabilities — as have the scarcity of natural resources and the unfolding

of climate change–related regulatory and lifestyle changes.

New business models that understand how to build markets for the one billion people

that remain excluded, that thrive on energy efficiency and environmental stewardship,

and that build societal goodwill and support are likely to be the winning models

of the future. Such enterprises will not only succeed in their own right, they will also

make an enormously important contribution to the future of humanity.

We are called to support and promote business efforts that embrace sustainability

strategies as a modus operandi. Many small and large innovations and alterations are

needed to bring about a change on the scale required to safeguard our future. Human

creativity and the will to shape the future are our best hope. This Fieldbook opens the

door for business leaders and managers to the most appropriate and practical pathway

for themselves and their enterprises to forge a more sustainable future. It takes us on a

thoughtful journey through the eyes of 29 passionate, experienced practitioners inspiring

us all to step up to the plate, create a plan, and move forward with velocity, intention,

and commitment. It provides the tools, cases, best practices, learnings, and understandings

— at once profound and practical — to equip and enable every manager and

leader to play a role in the reinvention of the world.

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Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Part I

Understanding Reality: Our Context for the Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook

Introduction and Overview

Part II

Preparing the Foundation for a Sustainable Enterprise

Chapter 1

Leadership for a Sustainable Enterprise

Chapter 2

Mental Models for Sustainability

Chapter 3

Developing a Sustainability Strategy

Part III

Embracing and Managing Change Sustainably

Chapter 4

Managing the Change to a Sustainable Enterprise

Chapter 5

Employee Engagement for a Sustainable Enterprise

Chapter 6

Sustainable Enterprise Metrics and Measurement Systems

Part IV

Connecting, Integrating, and Aligning toward the Future

Chapter 7

Sustainable Globalization: The Challenge and the Opportunity

Chapter 8

Transorganization Collaboration and Sustainability Networks

Part V

When It All Comes Together

Chapter 9

A New Beginning

Glossary of Terms

About the Contributors

Index

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First Chapter

THE SUSTAINABLE ENTERPRISE FIELDBOOK

WHEN IT ALL COMES TOGETHER

AMACOM

Copyright © 2009 Jeana Wirtenberg
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8144-1279-4


Chapter One

Introduction and overview

Jeana Wirtenberg, William G. Russell, and David Lipsky

What changes in lifestyles, behaviour patterns and management practices are needed, and by when? Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Pachauri, 2007, slide 15)

On October 17, 2005, a small group of like-minded committed practitioners convened at Fairleigh Dickinson University and began a conversation about the conditions in the world (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and what was needed to bring about large-scale transformation to a more sustainable world. We talked about what we could do individually and collectively to help people in organizations, especially leaders and managers, better appreciate the value they can bring to and the difference they can make in their organizations to help create more sustainable enterprises, and ultimately a more sustainable world. Over the next several years this team self-organized into a community of 29 diverse, experienced professionals and many additional collaborating friends and associates to discover and help breathe life into the missing ingredients of sustainability and to create a vision for the sustainable enterprise.

We began our journey with an eclectic group of people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and aspirations. Our shared commitment to creating a more sustainable world, especially ensuring that the world is livable for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come continues to fuel our passion and unite us. This is consistent with the basic and most widely used definition of sustainable drawn from the Brundtland Commission (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987), "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

This Fieldbook captures the essence, energies, experiences, and best practices that emerged through the collaborative efforts of our community of co-authors. Our mantra was and is,

Be the change you want to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

We began our journey hoping to write a book and articulate what a sustainable enterprise is. Now that we have significantly achieved our original objectives, we see our role within an even larger community whose objective is nothing short of making the world sustainable for all who inhabit it today — and, more importantly, for those future generations we know we will never see but to whom we bequeath the stewardship of this precious planet.

* 'Business case' for a sustainable enterprise

Companies that want to succeed and thrive in the future are increasingly being encouraged to find ways to simultaneously meet both their own strategic needs and those of society (Porter & Kramer, 2006). More than ever before, companies are being asked to emphasize a broader and more balanced array of outcomes such as those characterized by the "triple bottom line" of people, planet, and profits (Savitz & Weber, 2006). In the 21st century, rather than focusing singularly or even primarily on the "financial bottom line" and the financial assets they possess, the most sustainable companies are looking at themselves and their future through the lens of the "five capitals model" of natural, human, social, manufactured, and financial capital (Costanza, 2001).

At the same time, evidence continues to mount that demonstrates that corporate social-environmental performance is strongly associated with financial and marketplace success (Cusack 2005; Innovest Strategic Value Advisors). And we see more and more evidence on almost a daily basis that the professional investment community, corporate executives, and directors appear to be increasingly focused on the degree to which firms are managed sustainably (Dixon, 2003; Margolis & Walsh, 2001).

What is the most important ingredient in Coca-Cola's success? Water. The syrup is what gives the product its competitive advantage, but without water Coca-Cola could not supply the world with its products. When the company became aware of the global challenge facing potable water, it co-founded the Global Water Challenge to address the problem. Sustainability makes business sense.

So why do we need The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook? And why now? Although the desired outcome of sustainability is becoming increasingly clear, the process by which one can best develop and implement sustainability is considerably less so. Our book is designed to help address both the what (what is a sustainable strategy for a company or organization?) and the how of sustainable enterprise (how do we go about building a sustainable enterprise?).

Although we use the term enterprise throughout this book (a term that is usually associated with the for-profit business sector), we firmly believe that the disciplines, case studies, tools, and references presented throughout our Fieldbook are applicable to organizations within the government, education, nonprofit, and nongovernmental organization (NGO) sectors as well. Furthermore, wherever possible we intentionally include examples of successful public-private partnerships, collaborative initiatives operating across multiple stakeholders and institutions, and organizations working in the "in-between space" to build sustainable enterprises. We believe these cross-sector, collaborative partnerships may offer the greatest hope for solving many of the globe's most intractable problems.

* Purpose of The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook

The purpose of the Fieldbook is to help forge a path to a better world and a more sustainable future by supporting employees, managers, and leaders at every level and in every function, sector, and industry in three key ways:

* Increasing their understanding and awareness of the meaning of sustainability on a conceptual, practical, and personal level

* Energizing and expanding their commitment to building sustainable enterprises that can contribute to enhancing the sustainability of the world and its ecosystems for generations to come

* Providing readers with the tools and techniques needed to individually and collectively take appropriate actions that will improve their personal and enterprise sustainability performance in the short and long term

* Missing ingredients and The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook

The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook is designed to align with an emergent framework of best-practice enterprise qualities. In it, we pay particular attention to those areas with identified gaps between current practices and risks and future practices and risks that were identified during a global sustainability survey of business leaders and managers (American Management Association [AMA], 2007).

We believe this Fieldbook is unique in at least six respects:

1. It is based on a stream of original research, both qualitative and quantitative, focused on the qualities of a sustainable enterprise and state-of-the-art best practices. This research is summarized later in this chapter and interspersed throughout the book with specific illustrative examples from businesses and other organizations

2. It offers concrete and practical ways to close the significant gaps that our recent worldwide study revealed in the role that managers in every function need to play to build a sustainable enterprise. For example, there are significant gaps between how important managers think a variety of sustainability-related issues are, and what they and their organizations are actually doing about them in their day-to-day practices

3. We focus on the critical role that human capital (i.e., people) needs to play in the transformational journey to sustainable enterprise. We believe that this is the missing ingredient in transforming rhetoric into action, and we are committed to helping pave the way for people to take the actions needed to, quite literally, save the world

4. We engage with you, our readers, by sharing the experiences some of our authors have had working with businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions to design and implement elements of an organizational model founded on principles of sustainability, integrity, inclusivity, mutuality, and self-organizing leadership

5. By offering a complementary online Living Fieldbook (see below) we strive to model sustainable principles and practices. In fact, our hard-copy book was itself created on a collaborative worldwide sustainability knowledge network portal that we now invite all readers to join. Going forward, readers can contribute knowledge and insights and share their own stories, accomplishments, and challenges

6. We have taken action, and we seek to continuously learn and improve on all elements of our current understanding and the future iterative learning we will all experience during the global journey to sustainability

The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook and its innovative Living Fieldbook and online community support services offer a missing ingredient in the elements we think must come together to create a sustainable world.

* How should a person be if he or she has values aligned with sustainability?

We acknowledge our own imperfections, weaknesses, and biased perspectives, and invite all readers to join and expand our learning community. We welcome all comments and suggestions, positive and negative, on what you like and how to improve on what we have created. We will continue to ask: What more needs to be done?

To support our efforts, the ESAT (Enterprise Sustainability Action Team) authors agreed to base our work on these principles:

* Holistic, emergent view

* Collaborative, sharing, inclusive, open approach

* Inquiry–action–inquiry ...

* Act with integrity and help each other; be respectful

* Win–win–win

* Listen deeply — for understanding — and create the space for conversations

* Work in the in-between space and across boundaries

* Stay present to our intention, focus on improving the world

* Be attractors

* Be careful that we understand what we mean

* Seek to discover and serve mutual interests

* Walk in others' shoes

* Be committed and accountable

* Create room for the difficult conversations

* Live what we want to become; pay attention to our "way of being"

* Develop tangible actions and short-term successes

Following these principles yielded many positive outcomes for the ESAT. Among these are:

* Increased energy levels

* Humbled, fascinated, and intrigued

* Focused our attention on the power of individuals and the common threads that unite us

* Reinforced the power of sustainability

* Created the conditions to help people bring their aliveness to their roles

* Reinforced the importance of continuing to capture and share our passion for sustainability

Our hope is that these principles and the outcomes they generated ignite the passions and actions of readers worldwide as they did for our team.

* Using The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook

The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook is designed so that the reader may quickly and easily reference any individual enterprise quality and find resources, case studies, tools, and related materials that can be used to help transform any enterprise from its current state to a more sustainable future state. Although all chapters cover distinctly different sustainable enterprise qualities, a consistent set of content categories are highlighted by icons throughout the Fieldbook to provide users with a quick visual guide and to enhance the Fieldbook's utility.

Activities for awareness and understanding (A)

Throughout the chapters we introduce a number of activities, frameworks, thought questions, and the like. All of these are intended to increase awareness and understanding and are denoted by an A. Wherever an A appears, we suggest that managers lead a simple activity, such as having their group read and discuss the associated text (essay, framework, and the like). In some cases, we supplement the A with an L for Living Fieldbook (see below). The L lets readers know they will find more detailed thought questions, discussion guides, and specific exercises aimed at further increasing awareness and understanding around that activity on the Living Fieldbook.

Case examples (BLDBLD)

The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook uses case examples throughout the chapters as an effective way to make our messages more real to Fieldbook users. A BLDBLD highlights case studies.

Tools (T)

The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook provides sample tools that lead to action. These were strategically selected by each chapter subteam as we discovered and used them during our work or learned about how others were using them by interviewing practitioners and identifying case examples. A T highlights tools.

Collectively we hope the Activities for awareness and understanding (A), Cases (BLDBLD), and Tools (T) help inspire people to ACT.

Living Fieldbook collaborative workspace

The authors not only of this Introduction, but of The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook as a whole, recognize the constraints imposed by a physical book with hard page limits, deadlines, and production costs that make it impossible in one physical book to keep up with the rapid pace of learning and change related to sustainable enterprise practices. We hope to accommodate these limitations by supplementing the physical book content with an online Sustainable Enterprise Living Fieldbook workspace. The workspace is referred to throughout this book and can be freely accessed at www.TheSustainableEnterpriseFieldbook.net.

Since the beginning of our ESAT discussions, we determined that there was an abundance of highly valuable reference materials, tools, and case studies that individual team members were aware of and wanted to share. This shared knowledge became so expansive that we began to explore ways to introduce the best themes of these works within our book and offer readers an efficient way to identify and access our references and learn more deeply about any selected topic. We also recognized that, as standards and best practices rapidly evolve, our Living Fieldbook would provide a way to keep our insights current and even support open discussions and feedback forums where different opinions could be openly progressed, and completely unanticipated insights and solutions could naturally emerge.

This Living Fieldbook workspace is hosted within the Sustainability Knowledge Network platform introduced in Chapter 8. The business model to support the Living Fieldbook and similar more interactive and open content-sharing services are in their formative stages and are still evolving. All of the material on the Living Fieldbook that is referred to in this physical book (e.g., at the beginning of Chapter 1, we refer readers to the Living Fieldbook for an essay by Theresa McNichol) was purposefully made to be freely accessible.

As we gained experience using our own collaborative workspace, we began to explore new social network technologies and communities. We recognized that we could be more effective by expanding our own collaborative community and purposefully connecting with selected networks with aligned and complementary values and objectives. We committed ourselves to sharing and leveraging our online workspace by connecting it with others in social network communities and participating in related, relevant groups. Our hope is that members of those related sustainability social network communities may choose to connect with and contribute their own unexpected innovations to our work. We are currently actively engaging with others through several strategic online networks such as Facebook and Second Life. We want to engage and collaborate with people within the online communities in which they are already actively participating. We are also using the Living Fieldbook workspace to develop network maps, beginning with our core group of 29 ESAT members and strategically adding connections through an extensive group of collaborating partners. (See Chapter 8 for more on social networks.)

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THE SUSTAINABLE ENTERPRISE FIELDBOOK Copyright © 2009 by Jeana Wirtenberg. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 15, 2009

    The Hardcover Toolchest for Sustainable Practice and Sustainability Practitioners

    "The boss came back from a seminar and said we need to be sustainable", "our green team needs to make the next step", "I need to provide better documentation to justify our sustainability efforts", are all statements that I hear routinely in presentations or as a part of general calls that come in. This book provides a valuable resource as it serves admirably as a primer for the unintiated, a problem solver for the overwhelmed and a tool chest for the seasoned practitioner.

    The fieldbook can provide a mirror to see how you are doing and/or a framework to organize what you are already doing. It probably won't be something that you peruse from cover to cover but it will give a range of options and information on all of the pages. The book also does a pretty good job of differentiating between "commodity" sustainability and "organizational differentiation and leadership" sustainability.

    There are very few books that I will recommend when asked where to start simply because organizations moving to the sustainability path are starting from such different places. This book provides a range of information to satisfy those diverse needs. It has all of the earmarks for being one of the books on your shelf with folded corners, highlights and tabs for the "go to" locations helping your organization explore, implement and share sustainable practices.

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  • Posted March 27, 2009

    A "must have" for anyone interested in the paradigm for successful business, now and in the future.

    This book is a complete guide to moving towards sustainability. Rarely do authors assemble a comprehensive resource to reference at every stage of creating a more sustainable organization. The information is backed up by extensive research and is a great primary resource for understanding the characteristics and practices that successful businesses and organizations will have in the future. Whether you are starting a business or in an organization that is taking strides towards sustainability, this book must be within reach on your desk.

    It quickly becomes apparent that this isn't something you can digest and put back on the shelf. Truly it is a "fieldbook" and a staple reference for anyone interested in the area of sustainability. It is equally as powerful a tool for students or others who are interested in learning the components of sustainability, its integration, and why it will be the paradigm for successful business now and in the future.

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  • Posted January 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great resource for sustainability professionals

    Theres a lot of books on sustainability out there now - which is great - but most of them stay on the surface. They simply tell interesting stories and review green business theories. This book digs deeper, going into the nuts and bolts and tells you how to develop and implement green business best practices. Its not for beginners! The level of detail is intense. But for you professionals who've tasted the gold in green business and are ready to develop a comprehensive program, this book is a great resource.

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  • Posted January 2, 2009

    Companies need a sustainability roadmap

    Companies need a sustainability roadmap<BR/><BR/>Having read The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook, it is clear that the authors are best positioned to help companies develop a realistic sustainability roadmap to support the triple bottom line of profits, people and the planet. The challenge ahead is to get this team in front of key HR decision-makers as well as President-elect Obama's transition staff. <BR/><BR/>Furthermore, sustainable business practices are one of the keys to sustaining the tourism industry. Partnering with business to protect our environment will help to preserve our treasured tourist destinations. While often overlooked, Tourism is a significant contributor to global economic development. I suggest getting in touch with these authors and obtaining a copy of their book for those who are serious about achieving a sustainable future.<BR/><BR/>www.TheSustainableEnterpriseFieldbook.net<BR/><BR/>Submitted by RoseAnn Alspektor<BR/>Whidbey & Camano Islands Tourism<BR/>www.whidbeycamanoislands.com

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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