Embedded sustainability as a driver for competitive advantage

By David Bicknell

I cam across an interesting piece on the Guardian’s Sustainable Business website the other day all about the concept of ’embedded sustainability’ being used as a driver for competitive advantage.

The article, which is based on a new book by Chris Lasslo and Nadya Zhexembaveva, argues that that the incorporation of environmental, health and social values into core business activities (with no trade-offs in price or quality) is the answer for enduring profit and growth.

It adds that such embedded sustainability makes sense, leading to organisations having a “more decentralised handle on efficiency in its broadest sense, an in-depth awareness of environmental and social trends and related risks and opportunities, and may even lead to innovation and experimentation that encompass more bottom-line benefits.”

Moreover, it goes on, embedded sustainability offers employees and stakeholders new opportunities to find meaning in organisational life.

I guess the idea of embedded sustainability for competitive advantage appeals more to the private sector than the public sector, but in these times of mixed public/private sector/mutualised relationships, perhaps the concept has mileage here too.,

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