Beyond the Triple Bottom Line
Eight Steps toward a Sustainable Business Model
- Bronze winner in Philanthropy/Nonprofit/Sustainability category from the 2018 Axiom Business Book Awards
248 pp., 6 x 9 in, 25 figures
- Published: April 28, 2017
- Publisher: The MIT Press
- Published: April 21, 2017
- Publisher: The MIT Press
A pragmatic new business model for sustainability that outlines eight steps that range from exploring a mission to promoting innovation; with case studies.
Many recent books make the case for businesses to become more sustainable, but few explain the specifics. In this book, Francisco Szekely and Zahir Dossa offer a pragmatic new business model for sustainability that extends beyond the traditional framework of the triple bottom line, describing eight steps that range from exploring a vision and establishing a strategy to implementing the strategy and promoting innovation.
Szekely and Dossa argue that businesses and organizations need to move away from the business case for sustainability toward a sustainable business model. That is, businesses should go beyond the usual short-term focus on minimizing harm while maximizing profits. Instead, businesses on the path to sustainability should, from the start, focus on addressing a societal need and view profitability not as an end but as a means to support the sustainable organization.
Szekely and Dossa explore key problems organizations face when pursuing a sustainability agenda. Each chapter presents one of the eight steps, describes a business dilemma for sustainability, provides a theoretically grounded strategic framework, offers case studies that illustrate the dilemma, and summarizes key findings; the case studies draw on the experiences of such companies as Tesla Motors, Patagonia, TOMs, and Panera. The book emphasizes leadership, arguing that leaders who question the status quo, inspire others, and take risks are essential for achieving sustainable business practices.
Beyond the Triple Bottom Line is an exceptional contribution for those who are honestly interested in leading their organizations to true sustainability. The text provides a valuable balance between the theoretical and practical; it inspires while simultaneously providing clear and actionable steps. The book's writing is engaging and thought-provoking—equally as valuable in a boardroom as in a classroom. It is well past time to move beyond doing less bad and toward creating value for all stakeholders based on business models formulated with the objective of achieving what is good and just.
Carol A. Hee, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
At Clinton Devon Estates we have survived over 700 years of transformation. This excellent book reflects our view that unless society wants you to exist, you will be out of business. Szekely and Dossa are right to emphasize the responsibility of those who lead organizations to always look ahead, consider what new generations will want, and deliver it.
John Varley OBE TD, CEO, Clinton Devon Estates