The Next Sustainability Wave: Building Boardroom Buy-In


354 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-86571-532-7
DDC 658.4'083





Reviewed by Robert W. Sexty

Robert W. Sexty is a professor of commerce and business administration
at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is the author of Canadian
Business: Issues and Stakeholders.


The term “corporate sustainability” refers to the corporate
activities—social and environmental as well as economic—of business
operations as they affect all stakeholders. In his first book,
Sustainability Advantage (2002), Willard identified the benefits of
sustainability and the strategies needed to implement it. He interviewed
43 sustainability experts who helped develop the contents for this
second book, which describes how to use sustainability to achieve
greater profitability. Willard rejects using the “saving the world”
argument: if executives are to be convinced of the virtues of corporate
sustainability, they need to shown how it will help to solve their
business problems.

The first wave of sustainability was spurred by three drivers: the
founders’ personal passions, public-relations crises, and regulatory
pressures. The next wave will be driven by a “perfect storm of
threats” (market forces, demanding stakeholders, business risks, etc.)
and “compelling business value” (i.e., the opportunities presented
by corporate sustainability). Challenges to the next wave of
sustainability include lack of support of senior leaders, fear of
backlash, weak business cases, and the difficulty of changing managerial
mindsets. The book includes extensive footnotes and an appendix making
the business case for SMEs (small-medium enterprises) to embrace

Unfamiliar jargon will impede some readers. More user-friendly are the
illustrations that appear on all of the book’s even-numbered pages.


Willard, Bob., “The Next Sustainability Wave: Building Boardroom Buy-In,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,