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Walking the Talk: The Business Case for Sustainable Development

Submitted by: Greenleaf Publishing

Categories: Environment

Posted: Aug 28, 2002 – 12:00 AM EST


Aug. 28 /CSRwire/ - SHEFFIELD, United Kingdom - We are pleased to announce the publication of: WALKING THE TALK: THE BUSINESS CASE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Charles O. Holliday Jr, Chairman and CEO of DuPont, Stephan Schmidheiny, Chairman, Anova Holdings and Philip Watts, Chairman of Shell

August 2002 288pp 234 x 156 mm Hardback
ISBN 1 874719 50 0 GBP21.95/USD29.95

_ The most radical and important book on corporate responsibility yet published.

_ International business leaders argue that globalization can benefit the planet and the world’s poor.

_ Corporate accountability and transparency have never been as important as now. Only the most enlightened, open and forward-thinking corporations will prosper in the future.


To place an order for this title (at a discount of 10% until August 31st) or to view Chapter 1, "The Foundation" online, please visit the Greenleaf website at:
You can also request a review copy or inspection copy - see the home page:
Journalists can also obtain a press pack for the book on CD. LINK??


Ten years on from the Rio Earth Summit, world leaders will gather again in Johannesburg for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in the next few days. As planetary anxieties about globalization, poverty and climate change grow, where does the international business community stand? Are they a barrier to change or an engine for it? In Walking the Talk, international business leaders argue for the first time that business can be an agent of positive change-positive for the environment and the world’s poor.

One outcome of Rio was Changing Course, the hugely influential book by Swiss industrialist Stephan Schmidheiny1 which argued that business needed to be part of the solution to global environmental degradation. Now, Schmidheiny has joined with fellow prime movers in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)2-Chad Holliday,3 Chairman and CEO of DuPont, and Philip Watts,4 Chairman of Shell-to spell out a real business case for addressing sustainable development as a key strategic issue.

The results are ground-breaking. For the first time, leading industrialists are arguing that not only is sustainable development good for business, the solving of environmental and social problems is essential for future growth. Drawing on a wealth of specially written case studies and personal interviews from business and civil society leaders operating around the world, Walking the Talk clearly demonstrates that the vanguard who have operationalized leading-edge environmental and social initiatives are benefiting in a myriad of ways that benefit the bottom line-and the planet. The book argues that the time for rhetoric is over. The business of business has changed.

Even more remarkably, the authors insist that a global partnership-between governments, business and civil society-is essential, if accelerating moves towards globalization are to maximize opportunities for all-especially the world’s poor. As Chad Holliday recently stated in an address to the United Nations: "Given existing technology and products, for all six billion people on the planet to live like the average American, we would require the equivalent of three planet Earths to provide the material, create the energy and dispose of the waste." Such an option is evidently not available and the book argues that far more eco-efficient and socially equitable modes of development must be pursued in order to allow poorer nations to raise their standards of living.

The solution provided by Walking the Talk is to mobilize markets in favor of sustainability, leveraging the power of innovation and global markets for the benefits of everyone-not just the developed world. This means a further liberalization of the market-a move that would be condemned by anti-globalization protestors. Yet, as the authors argue, business cannot succeed in failing societies. When the global market fails poor countries, where most of the world’s people live, it will also eventually fail business. Subsidies for rich countries’ products and tariffs against poor countries’ products do not constitute a ‘free’ market, or one that best serves people or business. Similarly, governments cannot subsidize fossil fuels or water and expect businesses, or ordinary citizens, to use them efficiently. So, a new, fair and equitable market is needed. A market that can work for all. The authors therefore call on protestors against globalization to stop protesting against the market and instead to campaign instead against the perverse policies that impoverish people and their environment.

Walking the Talk explores the opportunities and challenges inherent in eco-efficiency (producing more with less), corporate social responsibility, and a transparent, ‘wired’ world where reputations can be irreversibly damaged-or enhanced-in real time. It also devotes a chapter to ways in which corporations can and must ‘learn to change’. It examines the new partnerships needed among companies, governments, and civil society to produce real change, and the ways in which these alliances can work for all concerned. And it argues that consumer choice and consumer information should be encouraged as a positive force for sustainable development. Only what is valued is carefully used, and so creating markets for environmental goods and services may be the best way to protect scarce resources. This is especially true in efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, where businesslike approaches, such as the development of carbon trading, offer workable solutions to policy-makers.

Whether small, medium or large, all businesses must innovate and change to meet the social and environmental challenges of the coming years. Walking the Talk provides a broad set of proven roadmaps to success as well as real-life inspiration for business to embrace the real challenge-to build a global economy that works for all the world’s people.

"‘Changing course’ was the message of the book published by Stephan Schmidheiny for the Earth Summit in 1992. Ten years on, Stephan Schmidheiny, Chad Holliday and Philip Watts demonstrate how a number of leading companies have started to ‘walk the talk’. I hope that the concrete examples provided in this book will catalyze the necessary change of course in the millions of companies that still continue with business as usual. I also hope that this publication will encourage business leaders to work with governments to adopt the necessary regulatory and economic frameworks that will enable market forces to drive a life-cycle economy and a more equitable world. Congratulations for this important undertaking." Dr Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Program

In growing numbers, business leaders are coming out of the closet to acknowledge the design problems of our outlaw industrial system. Evolving an economic system consistent with the laws of nature is the challenge of our times. It will require harnessing imagination and innovation of businesses around the world. In this process, the leadership of large global corporations will be pivotal. Walking the Talk is an important next step in the beginnings of a very long journey.
Peter M. Senge. MIT and SoL (Society for Organizational Learning)

"This book shows us that the most successful companies will be those that achieve sustainable development through learning from the marvelous mechanism of nature and power of life—Nature’s Wisdom-and innovate accordingly." Dr Shoichiro Toyoda, Honorary Chairman, Member of the Board, Toyota Motor Company

"In the global era not only commerce, but also information and civil society are global. In Walking the Talk these forward-thinking business leaders make a powerful case that in the global era an enterprise’s license to operate depends on strategies that respond to broad societal values: protecting the environment, respecting human rights, promoting development that meets human needs, sharing information, and embracing scrutiny and input from civil society." Jonathan Lash, President, World Resources Institute

"Ten years after Rio, we approach the next Earth Summit in Johannesburg. Much has been accomplished in the corporate sector over the past decade. Ten years ago, the agenda was about ‘changing course’, ‘eco-efficiency’, and ‘market failures’. Today, it is about ‘sustainable growth’, ‘the bottom of the pyramid’, and ‘walking the talk’. Ten years from now we will look back and be amazed at how far the business sector has pushed the sustainable development agenda forward." Professor Stuart Hart, Director, Center for Sustainable Enterprise, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina

"Within the environmental arena, a strategy of business as usual will lead to some very unusual forms of business, if only because of environmental forces that are becoming ever-more forceful. Fortunately a number of corporate leaders, including the three authors, are coming to understand that there can be no sustainable business except within an overall context of sustainable development. This book presents a compelling case, and does it in very readable fashion."
Dr Norman Myers, Fellow, Green College, Oxford University

"For me, the appearance of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) was one of the most important unofficial outcomes of the Rio Summit in 1992. It signaled the beginning of a period where it became clear that governments alone cannot achieve sustainability, and preconceptions about business being all about profit and NGOs all about ethics and voluntarism disintegrated. Walking the Talk demonstrates that we are all sitting in the same planetary boat."
Dr Claude Martin, Director General, WWF International

To place an order for this title (at a discount of 10% until August 31st) or to view Chapter 1, "The Foundation" online,
please visit the Greenleaf website at:
You can also request a review copy or inspection copy - see the home page:
Journalists can also obtain a press pack for the book on CD. LINK??


1. Stephan Schmidheiny is Chairman of Anova Holding AG. A Swiss industrialist, Schmidheiny founded the Business Council for Sustainable Development after he was named Principal Advisor for Business and Industry to the secretary general of the 1992 ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio. He was the principal author of Changing Course and is now the honorary chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

2. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a coalition of 160 international companies-including: AOL Time Warner, AT&T, Bayer, BP, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, and many others-united by a shared commitment to sustainable development via the three pillars of economic growth, ecological balance, and social progress. Their members are drawn from more than 30 countries and 20 major industrial sectors.

3. Charles O. Holliday, Jr, is Chairman and CEO of DuPont. Holliday is an industrial engineer by training who, in his 30-year DuPont career, has touched virtually every aspect of the business-from fibers and chemicals to agricultural products and biotechnology. Holliday is a former chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

4. Philip Watts is Chairman of the Committee of Managing Directors of The Royal Dutch/ Shell Group of Companies and Chairman of the Shell Transport and Trading Company. He joined Shell in 1969 and has worked in Indonesia, the UK, Norway, and the Netherlands. Watts is the current chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and of the UK chapter of the International Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, please contact:

John Stuart Greenleaf Publishing
Phone: [+44] (114) 282-3475


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