I have to agree with Mad Max (see other review) on the downsides of this book regarding the idea of more privatization solving future environmental problems. However, since the downsides are already discussed in detail by other reviewers, I would like to comment on the positive things I found in this book. Werbach, for example, mentions the importance of leadership when it comes to sustainable practices. In most books you can find chapters about how other companies achieved energy conservation or how they marketed their company green(er), but only a few authors write about the importance of individuals and their impact on the success of a sustainable strategy. I've experienced entire company cultures coined by one executive. If an individual in such a position is able to pass on his positive attitude towards sustainability and environmental friendly business practices to his employees and colleagues entire business models can be turned upside down.
I think it was about time that Werbach picks up this topic. These soft issues like employee motivation and personal identification with an organization's overall goals might not be considered (how Werbach puts it) a 'Strategy for Sustainability' by everyone. However, strategy is a ductile term and depending on the definition you find, engaging employees and getting your staff aboard with your corporate values and goals can definitely be considered a strategy. Out of my opinion, getting everyone in an organization to fit into the overall sustainable framework and empower them to identify themselves with a green strategy is vital for gaining a sustainable competitive advantage.
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.