GREEN GIANTS by E. Freya Williams


How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses
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How forward-thinking, eco-conscious businesses grew into lucrative success stories.

Corporate adviser and strategist Williams—the co-founder of globally responsible marketing endeavor OgilvyEarth and current executive vice president of “Business+Social Purpose” at Edelman—presents case studies of popular brands strategizing, aligning, and infusing their business models with socially responsible and sustainable products and practices. They are the “green giants” of the contemporary marketplace, she writes, amassing multibillion-dollar annual revenues and consistently capitalizing on a “critical mass of success.” The tales of their importance, their pathways to profitability, and how interested entrepreneurs can mimic their successful trends form the thrust of Williams’ useful study. Using instructional bulleted lists and charts of business examples, the author notes the key traits shared among these eco-friendly companies. Chipotle’s organically minded Steve Ells and IKEA’s climate activist Steve Howard demonstrate the importance of iconoclastic leadership, as well as other winning tenets that include fearlessly embracing risky, counterintuitive ideas and maintaining a purposeful, philanthropic business. These companies earn mainstream appeal and show a commitment to a decreased carbon footprint (good examples are Whole Foods Market, Natura, and Nike). The “truthsparency” methodology, pioneered by Whole Foods, has also become an effective model for customer-accessible corporate operations. Williams adequately explains how businesses succeed with the innovative deployment of green-minded product development. What she glosses over, however, is the amount of work many of these corporate behemoths have yet to accomplish, such as stemming GE’s involvement with controversial hydraulic fracking and how Toyota’s and Tesla’s products drive customers away from using public transportation. With incremental societal change in mind, Williams highlights a bounty of green initiatives paramount to both well-established and newfound entrepreneurs hoping to usher their companies into increased profitability through environmentally responsible operations.

A densely referenced and immersive endorsement for the durability and humanitarianism of business ventures retrofitted for sustainability.

Pub Date: Aug. 19th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-8144-3613-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: AMACOM
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2015


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