The idea of sustainability has been embraced enthusiastically by some businesses and rejected by others. The first wave of corporate converts to sustainability was driven by a PR crisis, regulatory pressures, or perhaps the founder's personal passion. The next wave, however, requires different drivers if it is to build a critical mass for corporate responsibility in the business community.

The Next Sustainability Wave assesses why companies have resisted sustainability strategies and focuses on two emerging drivers that promise to spur corporate commitment to sustainability strategies:

  1. A compelling business case
  2. A "perfect storm" of threatening market forces on the horizon that range from climate change to rising demands of stakeholders.

An effective carrot-and-stick duo, these two drivers are both triggering the need for change and providing a vision of business success if the transition to sustainable operations, products, and services is smartly managed.

Emphasizing the importance of how sustainability is presented to corporate leaders using the right language and avoiding threats to the status quo that provoke habitual corporate defence mechanisms the book applies effective selling techniques to reposition sustainability strategies as a means to achieving existing corporate ends, rather than as a separate additional priority to worry about. It sells sustainability as a solution, a business strategy, and a catalyst for business transformation. An appendix gives a version of the sustainability business case for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Designed for quick reading and reference — right pages furthering the argument, while left pages provide support materials — the book is especially useful for those wanting to convince busy executives and board members of the wisdom of sustainability-oriented business strategies.

NB: Post-Publication Correction to SME-Relevant Business Case:
The bad news is that because of a calculation error, the bottom line of the table in the Appendix on p.284 indicates that a typical SME would obtain a 46 percent profit improvement over five years. The good news is that it should be a 66 percent profit improvement.