The business community is anchored on profitability and to this end companies implement a variety of strategies. The book “strategy for sustainability: A business manifesto” by Adam Werbach tries to prove to the business community that though sustainability programs may usurp some resources, they will in the long run increase the profitability of the business.
The book “strategy for sustainability: A business manifesto” explores the business strategies that companies need to pursue in order to maintain profitability and sustain the environment, address climate change concerns and social issues such as poverty. According to Werbach (2009), business strategies without sustainability being at their core is irresponsibility on the part of the company. The book summarizes that such strategies are detrimental to not only the business itself but also to the environment.
The book challenges big companies such as Dell, Toyota, Nike, and Proctor & Gamble among others to implement integral rather than tangential strategies that target at environmental sustainability. The current practices of these major companies is a key component of this book and brings out the practical framework within which it’s the proposals can be implemented. Some of the suggestions of the book include engaging the employees, networking the organizational structure of a company as well as using transparency as a tool in business.
According to Werbach (2009), modern businesses are evolving in vibrant societies and have high profitability. The businesses therefore have the skills, leadership, resources, speed and the motivation to solve environmental problems quickly and apply those solutions to the wider society. The innovativeness of these businesses in solving problems determines their success and whether their interventions benefit or harm the earth.
The book further explains of the successes being enjoyed by companies that have placed sustainability at the core of their strategies. For instance, several companies that have substituted energy efficiency for fuels have saved billions of dollars. This has proved that protecting the environment has the potential to also increase the profitability of a business. Werbach (2009) also notes that an increasing number of businesses are drawing their strategic insights from nature. The anchoring of business strategies on nature may fail but it also increases the resilience of businesses.
The strengths of the book are that it’s devoid of knee-jerk corporatist attitudes. The contents of the book are candid on the place of businesses in sustainability. The book prescribes three cardinal rules that companies should adopt to remain profitable. These are engagement, transparency and networking. The cases in chapter 4 emphasize the thesis that mutual learning between businesses and their critics is vital for the sustainability of any business. These concepts are simple for businesses to adhere to and thus practical. The book also covers a variety of industries from chain stores to vehicle manufacturing and food processing companies. The inclusiveness of companies from varying industries increases the scope of the target market for the book and thus its impact to the general society. The book is also written in a simple and humorous style that interests the readers.
However, the book comes across as exceedingly preachy and self-righteous. Though the book contains several brilliant ideas, it does not clearly explain how those strategies and ideas can be implemented. Moreover there is no cost-benefit analysis which makes it hard for readers to make quantitative analysis of the suggestions of the book. In spite of these shortcomings, the book offers a wonderful scope on how businesses can transform into not only profitable businesses but also sustainable entities regardless of their sizes or nature.
Werbach, A. (2009). Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto. Harvard Business Press.