The Sustainable MBA: A Business Guide to Sustainability (2nd ed. Wiley)

Whether you are an employee, a manager, an entrepreneur or a CEO, The Sustainable MBA: A Business Guide to Sustainability provides the knowledge and tools to help you ‘green’ your job and organisation, to turn sustainability talk into action for the benefit of your bottom line and society. The book is organised like a business school course, allowing you easy access to the relevant information you need about sustainability as it relates to Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Ethics, Finance, Marketing, Organizational Behavior and HR, Operations and Strategy.


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What is it about?

Based on more than 150 interviews with experts in business, international organizations, NGOs and universities from around the world, this book brings together all the pieces of the business and sustainability puzzle including:

  • What sustainability is, why you should be interested, how to get started, and what a sustainable organization looks like.
  • A wide range of tools, guidelines, techniques and concepts that you can use to implement sustainability practices.
  • Information on how to be a sustainability champion or intrapraneur in your organization including how to sell these ideas to your team and how to incorporate them into any job.
  • A survey of the exciting trends in sustainable business happening around the world.
  • A wealth of links to interesting resources for more information.

Short Courses

Take this free online course on Sustainability by Business Discipline and other courses that explore sustainability and business.


Discussion Questions

Using the book in the classroom? Here are some discussion questions organised by chapter. 


Conversation Starters

Short posts that can be used as conversation starters around sustainability.



Looking for more sustainability resources? 



Connect with me to help develop your innovative new approaches.

Additional Information

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xix


Chapter 1: About this Book 3

Chapter 2: What is Sustainability? 13

Chapter 3: What does this Mean for Business? 23

Chapter 4: The Sustainability Journey 33

Chapter 5: Getting Started 41


Chapter 6: Accounting 55

Chapter 7: Economics 85

Chapter 8: Entrepreneurship 123

Chapter 9: Ethics and Corporate Governance 153

Chapter 10: Finance 183

Chapter 11: Marketing 217

Chapter 12: Operations 255

Chapter 13: HR and Organizational Behavior 295

Chapter 14: Strategy 323


Chapter 15: Tools for Monitoring, Managing, and Improving Performance 363

Chapter 16: Tools for Greening Offices and Buildings 377


Chapter 17: What Can I Do? 401

Chapter 18: What will the Future Bring? 409

Endnotes 435

Index 439

In 2005 after several years working with the UN in sustainability issues internationally, I left to pursue an MBA at London Business School to learn more about what the business sector was doing in this area. The original plan had been to then go and work on these issues from within a company, working to make changes from the inside out. However, once I started the MBA, I realized that students were not being adequately exposed to sustainability issues and had a very limited knowledge of what it all meant and how it could and was being applied to organizations of all shapes and sizes. By some estimates more than 60% of today’s business leaders have MBAs, not to mention those with undergraduate business degrees or that have passed through different executive training programmes. Most of these students are still getting limited training in sustainability issues if any at all.


How can sustainability really be taken seriously, really move forward, if every year thousands of new managers are entering the ranks of business without being exposed to these issues. This goes beyond just business students; it includes future law makers, government officials, engineers. Imagine the change a whole new generation of managers and leaders could have on the business sector if they were armed with the knowledge and the tools to explore sustainability in their businesses and their jobs, whatever job that may be.


After being approached by many students asking about sustainability options and careers, in second year I decided to do something about it. I started a project focused on understanding why sustainability was not being addressed in the curriculum and what could be done to change that. One of my findings was that in order to really reach all students, and not just those who were already interested in these issues, the information needed to be embedded into the material already being taught.


So rather than waiting for things to change, I started working on a booklet that would be made available to the students and alumni that would give clear information on what sustainability was and how managers could use it. It would be organized according to the different classes taught in the MBA so that students could easily follow it and use it as part of their core courses, or apply it to their businesses. It would be full of tips, tools and useful advice on how to bring these ideas to whatever career they chose post graduation.

The idea was so well received that upon graduation I looked at ways to scale things up. Wiley believed in the project and agreed to publish it internationally as a book. I then set out to interview over 150 experts from business leaders, sustainability experts from NGOs and international organizations, academics, students and young managers from around the world in order to make the book as relevant and useful as possible.

At the beginning of all of the chapters of the book you will some wonderful little illustrations. These have been created by the very talented Paul Woolfenden. Paul lives and works in Paris. His wife is French and they have two children. His illustrations appear in Advertising, Publishing, the Press and Audiovisual communication. It’s possible his British sense of humour is tinged with a French accent.

This is what Paul had to say about the illustrations he created for the book…
“All but one of the illustrations show a stylized figure bearing a graphic feature loosely linked to the chapter heading. The aim of this combination is to mark the significance of the verb, to bear, as it denotes not only something to be sustained but also suggests a sense of responsibility. Advancing from right to left the figures meet the reader’s gaze, summarizing the dual nature of text – a combination of signs and sounds, thought and imagery.”

Paul Woolfenden / / tel-fax 01 58 59 19 53

Reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved.

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