This chronological list of Bob’s books describes the context for each. Every book was intended to be his last book.
The Sustainability Advantage: Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom Line (2002)
This was Bob’s first effort to monetize a comprehensive business case for sustainability strategies. Based on extensive research during his Masters studies and after he retired from IBM, he showed that if a company were to simply implement best sustainability practices already employed by other companies, it could improve its profits by at least 38% to 66%, depending on its size and sector. He also created the first version of the Sustainability Advantage Worksheets as a free, open-source Excel calculation template. Neither are available now because they were both superseded by The New Sustainability Advantage.
This book provides guidance on how to sell sustainability. The question that screamed in Bob’s head as he finished his first book was: “If the business case for sustainability strategies is this good, why isn’t every company using them?” To rigorously research the answer, he undertook a doctorate at the University of Toronto. His PhD thesis was this book. His research found that the biggest obstacle to executives embracing sustainability strategies was mindset. The book explains how to sell sustainability initiatives to skeptical business leaders: understand their needs and priorities, talk their language, gracefully handle their objections, and help them see how sustainability strategies can be good for business.
This book is about how to lead change when you don’t have much position power. In response to numerous requests from internal change agents in companies, Bob used his leadership, culture change, and organizational development expertise from his IBM career to distill lessons learned about leading cultural change from the middle. The book shows how sustainability champions at any level in an organization can effectively lead a transformation that imbeds sustainability principles and practices into an organization’s cultural DNA. It has an accompanying DVD.
Published on the 10th anniversary of his first book, this has a rewritten, recalibrated and more compelling business case for sustainability strategies. It shows that if a typical company were to use best-practice sustainability approaches already being used by real companies, it could improve its profit by at least 51% to 81% within three to five years, while avoiding a potential 16% to 36% erosion of profits if it did nothing. It has an accompanying DVD.
Two questions had been niggling at the back for Bob’s mind for years: “How would we recognize a truly sustainable business if we ever found one,” and “How much is enough?” Uneasy that rankings of companies on their sustainability performance were using incomplete criteria, he embarked on a project with TNS Canada to develop a “gold standard” for companies. It would be based on best-available environmental and social science and help companies assess how close they were to achieving a truly sustainable state. Bob partnered with the Future-Fit Foundation in the UK to produce the “Future-Fit Business Benchmark.”
While working on the Future-Fit Business Benchmark, Bob realized that it would be challenging to convince an executive team to embrace the 21 environmental and social goals in the benchmark as their company’s aspirational goals. Bob decided that the cost-benefit analysis in The New Sustainability Advantage should be enhanced. It could more explicitly include return on investment (ROI) calculations, as well as other potential co-benefits. He decided to create a new, more comprehensive, “ultimate” fill-in-the-blanks business case workbook resource.