'The Business of Sustainability' presents 'green' blueprint

George Basile

What does the future of business look like in a sustainability-minded world, and how do we get there are two among many questions addressed in the three-volume set, "The Business of Sustainability: Trends, Policies, Practices, and Stories of Success."

A dozen chapter contributors from ASU essentially helped to develop the first integrated presentation of the business of sustainability. The books were published in November 2011 and bring together more than 70 experts who specialize in several industries. The volumes’ editors include Scott G. McNall, who joined forces with fellow editors who hail from ASU: George Basile, a professor in the School of Sustainability, and James C. Hershauer, an emeritus professor of management.

According to Hershauer, the editors teamed up to produce the books because they collectively saw fragmentations in the approaches businesspeople were making when engaging in sustainability discussions.

The volumes begin with the notion that the science of sustainability is increasingly understood and being developed, and continue with an enhanced understanding of where global business is headed while offering straightforward business models that easily can be facilitated into operational structures.

“Readers become familiar with the large scope of global, regional and local challenges, opportunities, risks and solutions associated with managing all dimensions of sustainability in today’s dynamic business environment,” Hershauer said.

One example that supports the editors’ mission of enhancing sustainability-minded business practices is how mimicking the behaviors of living organisms can help industry leaders learn how to become more resourceful. The country’s second-largest microbrewery – the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – is off the grid, has approached a zero-carbon footprint, and demonstrates another instance of how sustainability practices can successfully affect supply chains. "The Business of Sustainability" readers, however, do not need to be well-versed in sustainability, or have a preexisting knowledge of how businesses function to fully grasp the fundamentals provided in each volume.

“There are explorations of key concepts combined with practical examples that provide everyone the frameworks necessary to integrate sustainability-minded practices effectively into their businesses,” says George Basile, professor of sustainability. “I am pleased that the ASU community has contributed to a body of work that can bring business into a sustainability-conscious model for almost any business one can imagine.”

Following are short, individual volume descriptions that include the names of the ASU-associated contributors in addition to chapters by Hershauer and Basile:

Volume I: Global Challenges and Opportunities covers the scientific, economic, and social underpinnings of sustainability and identifies the challenges that business leaders face. ASU contributors include: Adelheid Fischer, Robert E. Mittelstaedt Jr., and Adrian A. Smith.

Volume II: "The Global Web" explores the global network of designers, producers, suppliers, distributors, and consumers that must be addressed as one system from a cradle-to-cradle, life-cycle perspective. ASU chapter writers include: Brad Allenby, Phillip L. Carter, Mark Edwards, and Dan L. Shunk.

Volume III: "The Road to Sustainability" provides examples of success across many industries that together demonstrate sustainability success can and must be accomplished now. Chapter authors from ASU include: Bonny Bentzin, David Brixen, Mark Edwards, Ray Jensen, Dan O’Neill, and John Riley.

"The Business of Sustainability: Trends, Policies, Practices, and Stories of Success" can be ordered from the ABC-CLIO website.

Wendy Craft, [email protected]
Business and Finance