As sustainability affects how the world works, so will it affect how business works in the world. Here are eight changes that smart managers are already talking about.
MIT Sloan Management Review’s first annual Business of Sustainability survey revealed much about
what executives are thinking and doing about sustainability-driven concerns right now–as well as
what’s impeding their attempts both to capture opportunities and defend against threats. The most
widely credited leading thinkers at the sustainability and management intersection, though, wanted to
explore something else: the ways that many fundamental management and strategy practices will be
transformed by the pressures that sustainability issues are already bringing to bear.
This article identifies eight significant ways that current management expectations and practices will
be affected by growing societal and economic understanding about sustainability. Among them: how
labor productivity can be dramatically increased by sustainably designed workplaces; how companies
“bump into” sustainability-related choices, even when they don’t look for them; how a company’s sustainability
profile will become a proxy for the organization’s overall management quality; how innovation
results are improved by pursuit of sustainability-related outcomes; how sustainability efforts within
an organization lead to more productive collaboration across typical organizational silos; and how
transparency and trustworthiness will become increasingly consequential to competitive success.