Sustainability Is the New Advantage

Sustainability Is the New Advantage

Leadership, Change, and the Future of Business

By Peter McAteer

Anthem Environment and Sustainability Initiative

"Sustainability Is the New Advantage" is a practical blueprint for leaders who want to start, develop, and grow sustainable organizations. The book provides stories and practical examples of how to assess challenges, create demonstrations projects, and scale the capabilities needed for sustainable business transformation.

Hardback, 296 Pages


April 2019

£29.80, $37.99

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About This Book

During the last 150 years, we have stressed the oceans, warmed the planet and overextended almost every natural resource. To create real change will require a generation of leaders and businesses that think and act differently. "Sustainability Is the New Advantage" identifies the skill sets, best practices, and new ideas needed to teach a new generation to start, grow, and manage sustainable organizations.

The shift to more sustainable business practices is the third act in the age of the corporation. Research tells us that during major market transitions, early adopters reign. That means only 15%–20% of businesses will make a bold transition to a sustainable business model during the next five to ten years. Everyone else will likely make incremental changes with less risk.

Transformation is a difficult process for any company and ‘Sustainability Is the New Advantage’ offers a straightforward process for sustainability champions to advocate for accelerated change. Each company that succeeds in becoming a sustainable business is a collective win for the business community as well as future generations. To paraphrase Gandhi, we each need to be the change we want to see in the world.


McAteer has created a masterpiece on sustainability. He personalizes the sustainability agenda, then surrounds it with facts and offers guidance on how to grow the sustainability movement. He notes especially that planet, profit, and people can coexist and mutually reinforce each other to benefit all. Kudos for this great work.
—Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and Partner, The RBL Group

Peter McAteer has written an extraordinary "Sustainability Is the New Advantage" is an all-in-one instructional manual that companies (of any size) can use to gain a clear competitive advantage by exploiting the opportunities offered by a commitment to sustainability. Every business school should be teaching at least one course based on this book. McAteer analyzes and illustrates the leadership required to meet a range of sustainability challenges, along with the new knowledge that will be needed, techniques for recruiting and developing the right talent, and strategies for providing continuous training.
—Lawrence Susskind, Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Director of the MIT Science Impact Collaborative

The book is really good. It’s interesting. It’s practical. And it displays great expertise. Drawing on his vast knowledge, McAteer’s book is a masterly, practical synthesis showing what companies—and their leaders individually—need to do to build a more sustainable future. His comments about smaller businesses are spot on. Well done!
—Thomas A. Stewart, Executive Director, National Center for the Middle Market, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

Combining practical tools and powerful stories, "Sustainability Is the New Advantage" is an indispensable guide to one of the most critical issues of our time.
—Scott D. Anthony, Innosight Senior Partner and lead author of Dual Transformation

"Sustainability Is the New Advantage" opened up a whole new world for me as a leader. It challenged me to move from advocacy to action. Based on cutting edge insights, this is a game changing book and a “must read” for any leader.
—Susan Lansing, Senior Vice President, Head of Learning and Development, Bank of the West

As dean of a European school with six campuses and a global student population, I am acutely aware of the fact that sustainability issues cross borders and require a collaborative sense of responsibility. McAteer’s focus on current corporate leaders deals with a practical reality. If we are going to make progress on environmental and social challenges in the coming decades, the people currently working in organizations need to be re-trained to solve the problems. All business practitioners should read "Sustainability Is the New Advantage". It is a stimulating book that invites readers not only to revisit their personal accountability on this topic but encourages everyone to take concrete actions. McAteer provides a practical path forward.
—Bertrand Moingeon, Dean for Executive Education and Corporate Initiatives, ESCP Europe

Leaders urgently need new models and tools for doing business more sustainably. In this detailed yet pragmatic guide to adopting and driving sustainability practices, Peter McAteer shares a lifetime of hard won lessons and examples, providing valuable tools to help diverse teams and organizations to adapt to the essential challenge of our time.
—Dr. Hal Movius, President, Movius Consulting and co-author of Built to Win

"Sustainability Is the New Advantage" taps into a topic of great relevance to everyone who cares about our planet and our local communities. McAteer offers examples from all over the world and adds personal insights that make the book inspiring.
—S. Harikumar, CEO and Managing Director, Origin Learning India

I’ve known Peter McAteer and his family for many years and have long respected their commitment to entrepreneurial business ideas, profitability, and values. Education was a force for change for Peter’s family and advancing the acquisition of knowledge underpins all his career decisions. This new book has a personal touch and offers an argument that is deeply rooted in his family traditions and that interprets family as the global village to which we are all tied.
McAteer ’s vision for a sustainable business culture is one that individual leaders and businesses large and small can incorporate in practical ways. McAteer writes in an accessible way while arguing with data and reason. He is able to tell stories of successful strategies that are engaging and scalable. As an educator preparing the current generation for leadership, I see this as a book that will engage and challenge.
—Susan King, Dean, UNC School of Media and Journalism

This book is a fresh call for action. A beautiful and necessary effort underpinned by the experience that comes from a long-standing professional career. McAteer puts the reader at the crossroads of the private and public sectors, of education and corporate life. At a time when discussions about sustainability seem entangled in politics, McAteer’s book calls us back to the stage where human choice and motivation make a difference. His persuasive voice and creative use of research and stories encourages us to lead, learn, and collaborate.
—Alfons Sauquet Rovira, Professor of Learning and Knowledge, ESADE, Chairperson, Academy of Business in Society (ABIS)

Author Information

Peter McAteer is managing director of SustainLearning, member of the board of directors for KPPM Global, and former managing director of Harvard Business Publishing, Corporate Learning.


Anthem Environment and Sustainability Initiative

Table of Contents

Foreword; Introduction; PART ONE: SUSTAINABILITY AND THE EVOLUTION OF BUSINESS; 1. A Journey of Self-Discovery; 2. Connecting Sustainability to Your Life; 3. Sustainability and Emerging Business Models; 4. Smaller Companies Need a Different Solution; PART TWO: LEADING THE SUSTAINABILITY AGENDA; 5. It Always Starts with One Committed Leader; 6. Day-to-Day Problem-Solving Accelerates Change; 7.: Anchoring Sustainability into the DNA of Your Business; PART THREE: BUILDING TALENT AND OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY; 8. Discovery, Value, and the Sharing of New Knowledge; 9. Building Your Talent Plan; 10. Strategies for Supporting an Evolving Business; 11. Key Areas for Training and Growth; 12. Can You Deliver Passion, Purpose, and High Performance?; 13. Resources for Sustainability Champions; Afterword; Acknowledgments; Appendix: List of Resources; Notes; Index.


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