Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Strategy for Sustainability by Adam Werbach (4/5 stars)

I am not a big business person. I mean I have worked for corporation basically since I started working; but I don't read a lot of business books. I got this book because it looked intersting. I wanted to know how sustainability was tied into the larger corporate picture.

What I found out is that this was a really interesting book. Werbach (as the former CEO of Sierra club) does a great job of engaging the reader at the beginning of each chapter. The first part of the book was focused more towards upper management but later parts of the book were more about how any individual can create change in a business.

Werbach uses a lot of very interesting real-life company (and nature-occuring) cases to start out each chapter. These case studies are very interesting and engaging. For each chapter he then goes into an aspect of his STaR plan. The StaR plan stands for Society, Technology, and Resources. He talks about managing these items to make a sustainable company and how sustainability is strongly linked with successful company performance. He also spends a lot of time discussing setting a "North Star" goal and about what that is.

Time is also spent discussing how important it is to engage employees at all levels, how important it is for a company to be transparent to both its customers and its employees, and how cultural and societal impacts of corporate action also have high impact on corporate success. The book applies well to both small and large companies. Case studies are looked at about how some successful small companies started out as sustainable companies and how larger corporations have made headway into becoming a more sustainable companies.

Overall I liked the book. I agree with the sentiment. I think that in an ideal world this book would be a good guide. I think realistically the ideas in it are much more complicated to put into practice than the book makes them seem. Still Werbach makes a number of interesting points and I may check out more of his books in the future.

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