Cover of Embedded Sustainability by Chris Laszlo and Nadya Zhexembayeva
Embedded Sustainability
The Next Big Competitive Advantage
Chris Laszlo and Nadya Zhexembayeva


288 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804775540
Ebook ISBN: 9780804783033

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Excerpts and More

We are in the midst of a sea-change. In years past, corporate social responsibility may have been seen as a feather in a corporation's cap but, today, ecological and social pressures require a new type of business response. In Embedded Sustainability, authors Chris Laszlo and Nadya Zhexembayeva convincingly show how companies can better leverage global challenges for enduring profit and growth.

In this outstanding book, readers will learn about the marquis concept of "embedded sustainability": the incorporation of environmental, health, and social value into core business activities with no trade-off in price or quality. When Clorox introduced its new line of Green Works cleaners or Nissan developed its Leaf 100% electric car, these firms were pursuing a profit shift in mainstream markets. In addition to churning out smarter (instead of just greener) products for consumers at large, embedded sustainability is capable of hugely motivating employees. Most of all, it enables companies to create even higher returns for investors, while responding to the new market realities of declining resources, radical transparency, and rising customer expectations.

This book helps readers to comprehend—and act on—the notion of embedded sustainability, explaining why it is now a requisite in every sector, how smart companies are creating even higher value for their customers and investors, and what new management competencies are needed to compete in today's marketplace.

About the authors

Chris Laszlo, Ph.D., is the author of Sustainable Value: How the World's Leading Companies Are Doing Well by Doing Good (2008) and The Sustainable Company (2003, paperback 2005). He is an Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, where he is the Faculty Research Director at the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value. Chris is also the co-founder and Managing Partner of Sustainable Value Partners, LLC, an advisory services firm specialized in sustainability for business advantage.

Nadya Zhexembayeva, Ph.D., is the Coca-Cola Chair of Sustainable Development at IEDC-Bled School of Management, the European business school based in Slovenia, where she teaches leadership, organizational design, and sustainability strategy. Nadya currently serves as Vice-President of Challenge:Future, a global youth think tank. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value at the Weatherhead School of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio. Nadya is also an Associate Partner of Sustainable Value Partners, LLC.

"Sustainability thought leader Chris Laszlo and his co-author Zhexembayeva's new book is a magnificent and highly readable tour de force of business strategy and innovation that shows how sustainability is a natural and important progression in thinking about business value. They make a crucial distinction between earlier piecemeal ('bolt-on') approaches to sustainability and the newer generation of strategies that embed sustainability within the core business of the enterprise. The book is a must-read for all serious business executives and managers. It illustrates key points through case studies and examples that provide a clear understanding of how to execute on a strategy of embedded sustainability."

—Dr. Ram Nidumolu, Founder and CEO, InnovaStrat, Inc.

"Business strategy and competitive advantage are essentially about choice and discipline, though rising ecological and social pressures have left many organizations around the world floundering in terms of what those strategic choices and discipline should look like. Smart leaders will quickly seize on Laszlo and Zhexembayeva's blueprint for embedded sustainability as the foundation for the new economic logic of competitive advantage. Embedded sustainability is the essential discipline for market leaders."

—Mason Carpenter, M. Keith Weikel Professor of Leadership, University of Wisconsin–Madison

"We are in the midst of a tectonic shift: The industrial corporate model of the 19th century is dying and being replaced by the sustainable enterprise model of the 21st century. In this new world of declining resources, radical transparency, and increasing expectations, 'corporate social responsibility' will no longer be enough. In this book, Laszlo and Zhexembayeva show clearly that the defining characteristic of the successful 21st century corporation will be its ability to embed sustainability in every fibre of its being. And, even more importantly, embedded sustainability will hold the key to future profit and value creation."

—Stuart L. Hart, S. C. Johnson Chair in Sustainable Global Enterprise, Cornell University and author of Capitalism at the Crossroads

"Chris Laszlo and Nadya Zhexembayeva have not only created a compelling guide for businesses to do well while doing good through Embedded Sustainability. They have also affirmed the critical importance of linking rigorous analytical developments to the testing ground of engagement with real-world problem solving. This book should be required reading in the programs from which future business leaders will emerge."

—Rebecca Chopp, President, Swarthmore College