The Sustainable MBA.
The Sustainable MBA
Sustainable companies seek balance between profits, social equity, and environmental protection. Many of these leading companies find that their green environmental policies lead to decreased costs and increased opportunities. Giselle Weybrecht interviewed over 100 CEOs and green experts in organizations like these before writing The Sustainable MBA.
The Sustainable MBA begins with chapters that define sustainability and green issues for the uninitiated. Next are chapters on "core topics." The chapter on accounting is mundane. The chapters on economics, marketing, operations, and organizational behavior are far more interesting.
For example, the chapter on economics has a section on evaluating the impact of the environmental degradation of an ecosystem. This section, like most others in The Sustainable MBA, is filled with references to other relevant information. Weybrecht recommends books about the economic impact of environmental damage and provides links to web pages.
The chapter on organizational behavior addresses the importance of human resources (HR). The aim of HR in an ecologically sensitive organization is to create a culture of sustainability, and manage the impact of green changes, by communicating consistent ecological messages, recruiting the right people, and promoting a green community where employees are involved and rewarded for their sustainable actions.
The marketing chapter discusses greenwashing--the practice of misleading consumers about an organization's environmental practices, or the environmental benefits of a firm's products or services. A common method of greenwashing is using packaging that is coloured green or drawing attention to one sustainable aspect of a product that has many other environmentally degrading attributes. Another way of greenwashing is advertising a product as "recyclable" when there are no facilities set up for recycling these kinds of materials.
A section of The Sustainable MBA is devoted to measuring the impact of "green" programs. What is the life-cycle impact of a product? What is the risk assessment of the product causing an ecological catastrophe? What technology is needed to minimize the environmental impact of a product? Along with these queries are audit questions for ongoing assessments of environmental compliance and improvement. The latter are similar to those in the business process section of a balanced scorecard.
The Sustainable MBA covers a vast scope of material and contains very few concrete examples. Some readers may wish to have more depth. The Sustainable MBA does promote the need for more companies to become green and does provide information for guiding these firms onto the path of ecological sustainability.
Giselle Weybrecht. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN: 978-0-470-74114-6 Reviewed by Patrick Buckley, PhD, CMA