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Beyond the triple bottom line. Eight steps toward a sustainable business model.

Francisco Szekely & Zahir Dossa; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; 2017; 224 pages

The book highlights potential dilemmas and gives instructions how to realize sustainable business success. „In order to go on the sustainability journey, business leaders and organizations must change the existing mental models that they have been following for many years.” The authors Francisco Szekely and Zahir Dossa realized that today’s leaders are facing a quite unfavorable business paradigm. Accordingly they wrote a book especially for business leaders to provide them with a pragmatic business model that incorporates sustainability with all its specific facets.

The book reveals that the traditional business requires a radical change because the traditional economic model with its reduced focus on profitability only, in which business often operates today, was never meant to be sustainable, although there have been sustainable approaches that attempted to improve the model.

“Beyond the triple bottom line” motivates business leaders to set about transformation and prepares them for obstacles that will definitely come across, because the way between capitalism and sustainable business is a bumpy one. The book points out potential dilemmas and gives instructions how to make progress along the sustainability path. One central statement of the book is that it’s not about minimizing harm but rather about maximizing good, videlicet not only for today but rather for the needs of future generations. It is written for people who feel the urge to develop sustainable organizations that lead to a healthier and sustainable society and it stresses the need for a long-term vision. If business goals entail more than economic growth only, the sustainable business model has an excellent chance to prevail.

The book is divided into 10 chapters whereby every chapter – except the introduction and the concluding – presents one of the eight steps. With the scope from developing a mission and launching a strategy to implement a sustainable strategy right up to sustainable innovation, Francisco Szekely and Zahir Dossa offer a new model that goes beyond the traditional triple bottom line to assist responsible businesses in moving toward the sustainable enterprise.

After reading this book and based on the preceding arguments Tripl3Leader recommends this well-structured, easy-to-read book because it explains in an insightful, practice related way why you should reconsider the traditional business case and it aims to guide you through the key problems you will face in making sustainability a reality. This book can be seen as a reference manual that can help to shape how you think about sustainability.

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