Sustainability & Organizational Change

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The Change Leadership Sustainability Demands

Sustainability initiatives can’t be driven through an organization the way other changes can. The authors’ research indicates that successful sustainability initiatives tend to evolve through three distinct phases. Phase 1 involves making the case for change, Phase 2 entails translating vision into action and Phase 3 is about expanding boundaries. Each stage requires different organizational capabilities and leadership competencies.

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Capturing the Green Advantage

Companies and consumers finally understand green as something more than a fad. In this special report, via surveys, interviews, web resources, and a roundtable discussion, MIT Sloan Management Review explores the best ideas for building green products that capture consumers and green practices that sustain businesses. What are the best practices? Which companies are doing them well?

Image courtesy of Flickr user Charles Cook.

The Business of Sustainability

How worried are executives and other stakeholders in about the impact of sustainability efforts on the corporate bottom line? What if anything are companies doing to capitalize on sustainability? What strategies are they pursuing? To answer these questions, MIT Sloan Management Review and The BCG Consulting Group began, in 2009, a survey-based research project. This report discusses these early findings.

What Is Sustainability?

Sustainability is the idea that systems — including natural and human ones — need to be regenerative and balanced in order to last. We believe that that means all kinds of systems: economic, environmental, societal, and personal. The sustainability question is: How can we design and build a world in which the Earth thrives and people can pursue flourishing lives?

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Collaborating for Systemic Change

Meeting the sustainability challenge will require the kind of cross-sector collaboration for which there is still no real precedent. It must be co-created by various stakeholders by interweaving work in three realms: the conceptual, the relational and the action-driven.

The Roots of Sustainability

Many companies now offer slick “sustainability reports” along with their annual reports as indicators of their performance. The problem is that none of this espoused benevolence creates true sustainability. The root of this problem is neither business’s misunderstanding of what’s at stake nor corporate cynicism about the sustainability cause (though these may be contributing factors). The problem really stems from management’s failure to see unsustainability as a deep-seated systems failure.

Choosing the Right Green-Marketing Strategy

Green marketing hasn’t fulfilled its initial promise, but companies can be more effective with it if they realize that a one-size-fits-all strategy doesn’t exist. Consumers swear that they want green products, but in checkout aisles, most revert to more common requirements — convenience, availability, price, quality and performance. The authors show how companies today can choose among several different green strategies targeted to specific customer segments.

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