I'm once again scratching my head trying to find a book for my sustainability class. I want the book (or 2 books) to do 3 things:
1) A list of problems attributed to climate change -- Lester Brown's 2011 "World on the Edge" does that (falling water tables, eroding soil, food scarcity, environmental refugees, failing states), but it's outdated. David Wallace-Wells new book "The Uninhabitable Earth" updates info to 2018, but the second half of the book is not practical. I was hoping Bill McKibben's latest "Falter" would do this, but it doesn't in any logical manner.
2) Progress being made in terms of solar energy and other renewables, restoring/supporting nature, new agriculture efforts, etc.
3) Things managers can do to make organization eco-friendly -- Esty & Simmons 2011"The Green to Gold Business Playbook" does that, but it's outdated.
Is such a book available? There must be. I'd be happy to settle for one book that does (1) and (2) above, and another book that does (3) above. It can even be a book of readings, though one author voice is preferred.
I have a couple of suggestions that might work for you, however I would suggest that sustainability is not something we want to focus on anymore in the Anthropocene. The environmental conditions of the planet are changing too quickly and we really need some radical change if we are going to support a planet that can support life not just for humans, but all species in an ecologically healthy way. The nature of sustainability, to sustain, at this point simply isn't enough. We are heading off an environmental cliff right now following the IPCC report of last year and the recent UN report that 1 million species are on the brink of extinction. So we really need to think beyond sustainability and imagine new forms of business models.
What you might want to consider are a series of journal articles that better reflect your course theme and are more up to date. I would definitely recommend thinking about incorporating Rockstrom et al. Planetary Boundaries, and Hoffman and Jennings (2015) article that discusses how sustainability programs in corporations have been subverted. I am attaching both of those to you in a separate email.
So for texts, think Chris Laszlo and Nadya Zhexembayeva's Embedded Sustainability, which while a bit dated, still is irrelevant. Laszlo and Zhexembayeva's book coined the phrase "embedded sustainability" and the book has remained extremely influential.
The End of Sustainability: Resilience and the Future of environmental governance in the Anthropocene (2017) by Melinda Harm Benson & Robin Kundis Craig, is cutting edge and largely unknown in business schools because it comes from a School of Natural Resources perspective. Business Schools and Schools of Natural Resources should have a great deal of overlap, but we don't because of the siloed nature of academia. Our scholars should be collaborating across fields as sustainability is by its nature interdisciplinary. I encourage you to check out this book.
Also, I would encourage you to think about obstacles to sustainability. Corporations are doing a very good job with the talk. My work has led me to the greenwashing literature. A great book that you should consider is : After Greenwashing: Symbolic Corporate Environmentalism and Society 2014), by ONE Division Member Frances Bowen.
Best of luck!
MATTHEW S. URDAN, MBA
PhD Student, Business Administration, OSC Track
College of Management
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston MA 02125-3393
P: +1 865 304 3428
Thank you Matthew for your posted recommendations in response to Denis Collins' inquiry on readings. I have used the Laszlo & Zhexembayeva book, Embedded Sustainability for 6 or 7 years now in my strategy course and my students find it inspiring. I like the models they use, and there are many good arguments and explanations, despite a few very dated examples of "sustainable practices" that now look like misguided examples – e.g. praise for Monsanto and Bayer Crop Science being in the "crop protection business".
I do appreciate your recommendations on articles that discuss corporate subversion of sustainability. Teaching here in Calgary, I have a good number of students employed by oil and gas companies (and the banks that fund them), and I'd love to hear other recommendations for books or articles that might help engage with students who are immersed in the messaging of corporate brands and their interpretation of sustainability and climate.
Robbin Derry, PhD
Associate Professor, Strategy
Dhillon School of Business
University of Lethbridge Calgary Campus
345 – 6th Ave, SE, Calgary, AB T2G 4V1
Thanks so much for posting. The reason why I posted to the group rather than send an email to Denis was in the hopes that the response would be valuable to others. I'm sending you a separate email with a few attachments.
You might want to check out our book Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction, which covers the issues you're interested in. I'll email you direct re some sample chapters.
PROFESSOR CHRISTOPHER WRIGHT
Professor of Organisational Studies
Discipline of Strategy, Innovation & Entrepreneurship
THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY BUSINESS SCHOOL, Rm 4228 Abercrombie Building (H70) | The University of Sydney | NSW | 2006 T +61 2 9351 5860 | M +61 435 659 780
E email@example.com | W http://www.econ.usyd.edu.au/staff/christopherw
I think most of us struggle with this challenge-how to create a single-course package about the role of business in environmental sustainability in the Anthropocene. Great suggestions by prior posters. Not sure I can solve your immediate problem, but perhaps can suggest a menu of resources to browse. The more interdisciplinary your student class composition, the better.
1 Business Solutions to Climate Change: https://www.drawdown.org/ No need to cover all solutions, perhaps just the top 10 below which cover your interest in renewables. One of my classes was tasked with a unique challenge related to #3 – viable products and business models for insect-based protein production in collaboration with biology faculty and students. The cricket-flour brownies were great although the fried scorpions didn't go down so well (pun intended)!#1 in Drawdown table relates to the unsustainable material world we create which leads to my #2: