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Innovations in Sustainability
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Book description

To what extent can competition between companies encourage innovations in sustainability that have the potential to solve some of the world's major challenges? Using a series of case studies, this book pits closely related competitors against each other to examine the progress in and obstacles to the evolution of sustainable innovations in energy efficiency, solar power, electric vehicles and hybrids, wind energy, healthy eating, and agricultural productivity. It delves into the efforts of Tesla Motors to bring about a revolution in personal transportation, and the challenges Toyota and General Motors (GM) confront in commercializing hybrids. It explores the movement to healthy food by cereal companies General Mills and Kellogg's, and depicts the battles between Whole Foods and Walmart for the world's palate. By examining the experiences that particular businesses have had with sustainable innovation, this insightful book reflects upon lessons learned and encourages readers to think carefully about the challenges that lie ahead.


'Innovations in Sustainability covers an enormous amount of ground. … It makes fascinating reading and represents an original and much needed contribution to our understanding of the challenges facing sustainable innovations.'

David Vogel - University of California, Berkeley

'It is becoming abundantly clear that grappling with the challenge of sustainability will become an increasingly pressing issue for many firms and that developing business models at scale that both ‘do good and do well’ is not an easy proposition. In this fascinating series of case studies Professor Marcus takes us behind the platitudes to detailed accounts of how particular firms struggled with these issues, highlighting stories of both success and failure in a way that provides concrete guidance to managers seeking to build more sustainable businesses.'

Rebecca M. Henderson - John and Natty McArthur University Professor, Harvard Business School

'How can competition encourage innovation in sustainability? In return, how can such innovation transform the competitive landscape? In this insightful book, Alfred A. Marcus integrates his comprehensive knowledge of corporate sustainability with his expertise in corporate strategy to address these questions. Through the investigation of captivating cases drawn from the world’s largest and most prominent organizations, he uncovers the paths that firms take to achieve their sustainability goals. A ‘must read’ for academics, managers, and policy-makers who want to better understand strategies leading to transformative innovation in sustainability.'

Magali Delmas - University of California, Los Angeles

‘Innovations in Sustainability represents an important contribution to the growing literature on the theory and practice of sustainable business. As we have seen, the last twenty years of sustainable innovation have been focused on incremental strategies like pollution prevention, eco-efficiency, and social responsibility. These have now been widely adopted and studied extensively. There is little left to learn or explore in this domain. The next twenty years of sustainable innovation will be focused on disruptive and transformational strategies like clean and regenerative technology commercialization, base of the pyramid business, and frugal innovation. As a result, this book by Alfred Marcus stands as a beacon lighting the path toward the next era of sustainable innovation that might truly lead us toward a more sustainable world.’

Source: Academy of Management Learning and Education

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  • Introduction - the path to sustainability
    pp 1-10


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