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am 8. Mai 2011
The "sustainability" seems to be the biggest buzzword these days, and an increasing number of institutions are judged according to whether they espouse sustainability in their practices or not. Many college campuses are abuzz with student and faculty led groups that are trying to implement sustainability as one of the core missions of their educational institutions. The word is primarily associated with the environmentalism, and implies judicious use of energy and resources. It has supplemented the old mantra of conservation, but the impetus behind its use is more or less the same. Most of these efforts are viewed with skepticism by administrators, since they impinge on budgetary matters and by and large complicate the everyday operations of the institution. The business community in particular is very uneasy with this latest fad of sustainability, since it threatens the most (some would argue the only) important consideration that businesses have: profitability. In his book "Strategy for Sustainability: Business Manifesto" the author Adam Werbach tries to appeal to the business community by arguing that a clear strategy of sustainability is beneficial for company's bottom line as well. The greatest strength of the book is its lack of knee-jerk ant corporatist attitude, and a clearly stated appreciation of the goods that business can offer to the society at large. However, the book still comes across as overly preachy and sanctimonious. There are many good ideas tossed in there, but there is no clear strategy on how to implement them. There are also no cost-benefit analyses' presented, which in the light of the previous sentence is not all that surprising: it is hard to make a quantitative analysis when there is no concrete plan of action that is to be implemented. The book is full of cute anecdotes that try to illustrate the main points, but ultimately have the effect of making one unable to take the overall massage too seriously. The main effect that it may have on the business community is to provide them with a new set of phrases and talking points.