The Sustainability Imperative

by David A. Lubin and Daniel C. Esty

MOST EXECUTIVES KNOW THAT how they respond to the challenge of sustainability will profoundly affect the competitiveness—and perhaps even the survival—of their organizations. Yet most are flailing around, launching a hodgepodge of initiatives without any overarching vision or plan. That’s not because they don’t see sustainability as a strategic issue. Rather, it’s because they think they’re facing an unprecedented journey for which there is no road map.

But there is a road map. Our research into the forces that have shaped the competitive landscape in recent decades reveals that “business megatrends” have features and trajectories in common. Sustainability is an emerging megatrend, ...

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