Business and Sustainability

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Sustainable business is a way of doing business that protects and promotes human and ecological welfare. It refers to business models and associated business practices that incorporate concerns for human rights, environmental sustainability and governance issues.

Growing areas of focus within the broader "Business and Sustainability" issues include those listed below, each linking to a sub-page from which will be built resources and activity in addition to the teaching materials and courses uploaded by contributors.  


Business and Sustainability Teaching Resources

Teaching cases on implementation of CSR/Sustainability

Series of cases on Walmart's efforts on sustainability:

Arenas, D., Fosse, J., Murphy, M. (2011) Acciona: A process of transformation towards sustainability. Journal of Management Development, 30, 1027 - 1048.

Kolk, A. (2012). Towards a sustainable coffee market: Paradoxes faced by a multinational company. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Manamangent, 19, 79-89.

Lee, D. & Bony, L.  Cradle-to-Cradle Design at Herman Miller: Moving Toward Environmental Sustainability.

Louche, C., Samii, B., Lepoutre, J., & Boute, R.:

*   Sustainable supply chain Part (A): Alpro - Sustainable soybean supply chain
*   Sustainable supply chain Part (B): C&A - Sustainable cotton supply chain
*   Teaching note - Sustainable supply chain: Aplore and C&A cases

Ofek, E., & Barley, L. The Clorox Company: Leveraging Green for Growth.

Reichelstein, R., & Hoyt, D. W. Environmental Sustainability at REI.
HBS cases on Walmart:

*   Plambeck, E., & Denend, L. (2007). Walmart's Sustainability Strategy (A)
*   Walmart's Sustainability Strategy (B): 2010 Update
*   Walmart's Sustainability Strategy (C): Inventory Management in the Seafood Supply Chain
*   Teaching Note for Walmart's Sustainability Strategy

Numerous cases on Case Centre (e.g., Interface, Starbucks, Alcoa, DuPont):<>

Books that have in-depth cases that could lead to discussion:

*   Anderson, R. (1999). Mid-Course Correction - Toward a Sustainable Enterprise: The Interface Model
*   Hemingway, C. A. (2013). Corporate Social Entrepreneurship: Integrity Within ; A taster of its content is available via the Wikipedia page called Corporate Social Entrepreneurship. See

*   Laszlo, Chris (2008).  Sustainable Value:  How the World’s Leading Companies are Doing Well by Doing Good.  Stanford, CA:  Stanford University Press

CEO Study on Sustainability 2013

Presents findings from the world’s largest CEO study on sustainability to date.

More than 1,000 top executives from 27 industries across 103 countries assess the past, present and future of sustainable business. Although global CEOs remain committed to sustainability, they also report frustrated ambition and call for policies to align market incentives with sustainability. 

Download the report

Architects of a Better World

This UN Global Compact 2013 report illustrates the main building blocks necessary to enhance corporate sustainability as an effective contribution to sustainable development, creating value for both business and society in the Post-2015 era.

Individual companies, corporate sustainability organizations, Governments, investors, business schools, civil society, labour and consumers all have a role to play in scaling up business action, and should be able to identify those areas in which they need to do more.

Developed in alliance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD). (2013)

Read report here.

The Breakthrough Capitalism Program

Current models of capitalism are failing economically, socially and environmentally. The Breakthrough Capitalism Program explores how business leaders can change the rules, and aims to catalyze the conversations that will make it happen.

The program includes a thought-leadership report, open plenary forums and smaller action-focused breakthrough labs and is a project of Volans , led by John Elkington and Charmian Love. 

Carbon Disclosure Project FTSE 350 Climate Change Report 2013

The report provides an annual update on greenhouse gas emissions data and climate change strategies at the UK’s largest public companies. 94% of the FTSE 100 and 74% of the FTSE 350 responded to the investor request for information sent by CDP. The report focuses on the reporting of indirect emissions and supply chain impacts, with key findings:

  • UK companies’ greatest risk from climate change likely to be global, not local

  • Short-term planning persists

  • Limited engagement with supply chain leaves risks uncovered


CDP-FTSE-350-Climate-Change-Report-2013(3.9 MB) Download

The B Team Project

The B Team is a not-for-profit initiative that has been formed by a group of global business leaders to create a future where the purpose of business is to be a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit. The B Leaders intend to focus on execution and action, catalysing and amplifying others’ efforts by undertaking specific global "Challenges" where their collective voice can make a difference.

The initial B Leaders include: Shari Arison, Sir Richard Branson, Kathy Calvin, Arianna Huffington, Mo Ibrahim, Guilherme Leal, Strive Masiyiwa, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, François-Henri Pinault, Paul Polman, Ratan Tata, Zhang Yue, Professor Muhammad Yunus and Jochen Zeitz. Joining The B Team as Honorary B Leaders are Mary Robinson and Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland representing People and Planet.



Top 10 Corporate Responsibility Stories of 2013

From the Crane and Matten blog. 

The Sustainability Consortium

"The Sustainability Consortium is uniquely bringing together stakeholders and creates unparalleled opportunity for collaboration. The Consortium is comprised of Academic Institutions, civil society organizations, corporations, and life-cycle experts from all over the world committed to developing science-based measurement and reporting methods. It is through this collaboration and partnership and the dedicated staff that TSC is able to develop sustainability solutions and a uniform approach to measure sustainability across the supply chain."

Sector and Consortium Working Groups are charted groups of members and invited participants who work together to create sustainability-related knowledge about particular product categories, continuously adding to the scope of products covered by our Sustainability Measurement and Reporting System (SMRS).

The website includes member case studies. 

ARIES Sustainability Video Collection

From ARIES (The Australian Research Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Macquarie University: Six new sustainability videos to get your year off to a flying start.

See how Ikea and Unilever are blazing the sustainability trail, how third-world ingenuity is bringing in the light, how drones are tracking poachers, how a new global movement is using business as a force for good, and how we could shift our emphasis from an "ability to sustain" to an "ability to thrive".

Access the videos here.

Also on the ARIES site - 42 sustainability videos in the ARIES Collection provide valuable teaching resources. 

20 Business Model Innovations for Sustainability

UK based SustainAbility report: Model Behavior explores the role and practice of business
model innovation in the context of sustainability. Features emerging innovative
models, their origins, mechanics and implications, under the following section headings:

  • Environmental Impact
  • Social Impact
  • Financial Innovation
  • Base of the Pyramid
  • Diverse Impact

Click through to report here.

WEF 2014 report: Towards the Circular Economy

In this report, the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with analytics provided by McKinsey & Company, acting as project adviser, joined forces to reconcile the concept of scaling a circular economy within the reality of a global economy and complex multi-tier supply chains. The key objective is to propose a very specific joint plan of action for industry leaders. Visit the website - and download the report below.


WEF- Towards Circular Economy Report 2014 (4.5 MB) Download

Sustainia100 Business Innovations

Excellent teaching resource: Scandinavian think tank Sustainia has released a study on 100 leading sustainability innovations deployed on global markets,  providing businesses with new market opportunities.

The published Sustainia100 cases present state-of-the-art innovation across 10 industries. The data is showing three strong drivers among the market-ready innovation: circular economy products, data analytic services and improved sustainability practices throughout the supply chain: The full Sustainia100 publication with 100 selection cases available here:

Behind the study is an alliance of private companies and international organizations including: UN Global Compact, WWF, Regions20, Monday Morning Global Institute, IFHP, Novo Nordisk, Brunata, DNV GL and Realdania.

Sustainia100(42.6 MB) Download