Embedded-Sustainability---a-Strategy-for-Market-Leaders Essay

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Business Strategy

Embedded Sustainability: A strategy for market leaders
By Chris Laszlo and Nadya Zhexembayeva
Consumers, employees, and investors are beginning to demand socially and environmentally-savvy products without compromise, while radical transparency is putting every company under a microscope. n recent years three big trends – declining resources, radical transparency, and increasing expectations – have redefined the way companies compete. The linear throw-away economy, in which products and services follow a one-way trajectory from extraction to use and disposal, can no longer be supported, as we are simply running out of things to unearth and place to landfill. Consumers, employees, and investors are
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Companies in every sector have already made great strides in complying with and anticipating environmental and social regulations. They have learned operational best practices in eco-efficiency – the process cost reductions that come from conserving energy, eliminating waste and improving material throughput – in some case saving billions of dollars as DuPont and 3M are purported to have done. But relatively few have focused on top-line (gross revenues) growth based on product or brand differentiation. Even fewer have used stakeholder value creation as a way to drive new markets and business context change.

rants now regularly post toro, the fatty cut from the belly of the prized Bluefin tuna, at “Market Price.” Traveling in airports around the world, you will also find it marked “Unavailable” on the menu. In all but the Antarctic waters the Bluefin has been so heavily overfished that stocks are now at less than ten percent of what they once were. It has become so rare that a single, healthy-sized tuna recently fetched $396,000 in Tokyo's largest fish market.1 Bluefin tuna is just one visible example of the decline of natural resources from clean water and top soil to food crops, fossil fuels, and biodiversity. During the 2007-2009 downturn, the World Wildlife Fund, a leading environmental conservation
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