Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability Into Billion-Dollar Businesses
What do Brazil's top beauty brand, America's second-fastest-growing restaurant chain, and the world's third bestselling car have in common? They are shattering the myth that acting sustainably and building a billion-dollar business are mutually exclusive. Green Giants examines nine companies that are merging social responsibility with wild profitability-and reveals the six factors responsible for their success, including: Iconoclastic Leadership fueled by deep conviction and a rebellious streak * Disruptive Innovation that uses sustainability to spur the development of radically better products and services * A Higher Purpose that ignites the company-when the mission leads, profits follow * Mainstream Appeal with positioning and packaging stripped of the crunchy clich's that alienate the average customer. This new breed of billion-dollar businesses proves it's possible to achieve enormous success while implementing sustainable principles that help consumers live better lives. Ranging from start-ups to business lines incubated within major multinationals, these companies collectively represent over $60 billion in revenue. What's more-many command wider profit margins and are growing faster than their conventional counterparts. Packed with eye-opening research, exclusive interviews, and enlightening examples from Chipotle, Toyota, Unilever, Tesla, General Electric, and more, Green Giants serves as a blueprint for sustainable success that anyone can follow.
From the Back Cover What do billion-dollar organizations like Tesla Motors, Trader Joe's, Chipotle, Toyota, Unilever, and General Electric have in common? They have all succeeded--amazingly--at building phenomenally successful businesses while selling products and services designed to help us live happier, healthier, more environmentally conscious lives. Packed with eye-opening research, exclusive interviews, and enlightening examples from major organizations, Green Giants reveals how these and other well-known, incredibly successful companies have turned a strategy of sustainability and social good into a billion-dollar business proposition . . . and how you can, too. The book provides a blueprint for sustainable success, examining the six key factors green giant companies share that have directly contributed to their uncommon success. Uncovering enticing stories of iconoclastic thinking, radical innovation, tenacious commitment, standout creativity, and explosive growth, the book reveals the harsh truth that corporate success can't be achieved on integrity, responsibility, and altruism alone. Packed with practical advice and hard-won wisdom, this book explains how to harness and replicate the proven methods currently fueling this dynamic and socially responsible business movement . . . and achieve incredible success for your own ecologically responsible organization. Advance Praise for Green Giants Want to be part of the future of business? This book reveals the secrets of the next billion-dollar businesses, written by the person who helped some of the successes of the last few years get there.-- Hunter Lovins, President, Natural Capitalism Solutions; Professor of Business, Bard Green Giants is a testament to the potential for transforming societal need into strategic opportunity. This inspiring but realistic account is filled with real-life lessons for all who aspire to build a more sustainable economy. -- Lynn S. Paine, John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean, Harvard Business School The debate is over. Business can contribute to the greatest challenges facing society, and deliver profitable growth while doing so. Indeed, it must. This book provides important evidence that it can be done. It should be required reading for any business leader wishing to lead companies that will prosper for the long-term. -- Kees Kruythoff, President, Unilever North America Green Giants will become an instant 'must read' for all who feel that capitalism has to change. Freya Williams has written a superb book showcasing the critical shift for sustainability from a siloed, often protective practice, to core business strategy. This is the guide for tomorrow's new billion $ brands.-- Carol L. Cone, CEO, Carol Cone: On Purpose
From the front Cover The words sustainable and profitable have long seemed at odds in the minds of business leaders. Crunchy granola ideals aren't sexy or lucrative...or so goes the old way of thinking, in which the idea of being environmentally or socially conscious was code for sacrificing profits. The surprising reality, though, is that today, businesses built around sustainability--such as Tesla, Unilever, and Chipotle (which is now bigger than Burger King)--are growing faster than their conventional counterparts, commanding wider profit margins and knocking stalwarts of the strip mall, and titans of industry off their long-held leadership perches. How has this new breed of the forward-thinking, billion-dollar company overturned the prevailing wisdom to become wildly successful by any standard . . . and how can you apply those lessons to your own organization? Based on the author's unique first-hand experience of advising Fortune 500 companies including Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Kraft on their sustainable business strategies--and featuring exclusive interviews with C-Suite executives and proprietary research-- Green Giants offers unprecedented insight, as well as a blueprint for success any organization can follow, on how to turn a strategy of sustainability into a billion-dollar business proposition. Examining nine companies that are using sustainability and social responsibility as a springboard to wild profitability, the book reveals the six key factors responsible for their success, including: - Iconoclastic Leadership--Most successful sustainable companies can trace their journeys back to one person, fueled by deep conviction and a rebellious streak, who started it all. - Disruptive Innovation--The secret lies not in pursuing a more socially conscious version of an existing product . . . but in using sustainability to spur the development of radically better, category-disrupting products and services. - A Higher Purpose--When the mission leads, profits follow. Learn to embrace the paradoxical wisdom that businesses ignited with a purpose beyond profit tend to outperform the competition. - Mainstream Appeal--Win over a broader audience of mainstream consumers by showing them what's in it for them. Chances are, your assumptions about how to build a successful, sustainable business are wrong. Revealing the essential strategies used by socially and environmentally conscious companies that have achieved astounding success, Green Giants shows you how to replicate the same techniques in your own organization . . . and start rolling in the green. E. FREYA WILLIAMS has advised organizations as varied as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Waste Management, and the United Nations, on how to incorporate sustainability and social good into their businesses and brands. The co-founder of OgilvyEarth, she is now CEO of Futerra, North America, and also served as EVP of Business+Social Purpose at Edelman. Her expertise has been featured in Newsweek , The Financial Times , and on NPR. Follow Freya at: twitter @freya1