Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability’

Book Review: Force of Nature

Monday, March 26th, 2012

image courtesy

Humes, Edward. Force of nature : the unlikely story of Wal-Mart’s green revolution. HarperBusiness, 2011.

The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year at the Whole Foods store on Broad Street in Durham.  In recent years, there are so many customers that they experience gridlock in the store.  An employee is posted outside the doors to prevent anyone from going in until another customer comes out.

Whole Foods is riding the wave of interest in sustainable products and organic food, which has become so popular that even conventional grocers  now offer organic alternatives.  Surprisingly, the largest seller of organic milk is Wal-Mart, a company that is not known for environmental sensitivity but should be, according to a new book by journalist Edward Humes.

Force of Nature is the story of how Wal-Mart, once one of the most unsustainable retailers on the planet decided to go green, not because it was the right thing to do, but because an energy efficient, low waste company enjoys a competitive advantage.   In addition to reducing Wal-Mart’s own energy use and waste, the company monitors packaging, water use and toxic substances in their suppliers, who are forced to be green to do business with the retailer.  Wal-Mart also develops partnerships with environmental groups and supports climate legislation.

The story begins in 2004, when Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, learns that 8% of its customer base had stopped shopping there because of the company’s bad reputation, including problems with local communities and the environment.  White-water expert and sustainability consultant Jib Ellison convinced CEO H. Lee Scott that Wal-Mart could boost their image and their profits by eliminating waste, because waste in packaging, shipping and the supply chain costs money.  Scott hired Ellison to transform the company.

Force of Nature is the inside story of how a gigantic corporation goes green.  This engaging and hopeful book is recommended to anyone interested in the environment.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Reviews: Tech Innovation and Insight in the Triangle

Friday, November 5th, 2010


These two titles prove that technological innovation and insight can be “locally grown” in our market of ideas just down the road from Durham, in Research Triangle Park and Raleigh, NC.

Click the titles below for information on location and availability.

  • Brilliant: Shuji Nakamura and the revolution in lighting technology. by Bob Johnstone. Prometheus Books, 2007..
    Inspirational story of a young researcher from rural Japan, who invented the technology that underlies the solid-state lighting industry, energy-saving LED’s. After an impressive string of achievements in semiconductor research, he left his Japanese company, which then sued him for leaking trade secrets to Cree Research, based in Research Triangle Park, NC.
  • On the grid : a plot of land, an average neighborhood, and the systems that make our world work. by Scott Huler. Rodale / McMillan, 2010.
    Beginning with the systems in his Raleigh, NC home, author Scott Huler investigates the infrastructure and the workers who make his existence livable. He discusses water, electricity, and the internet; sewage removal; street and highway construction, while providing insight into why this complicated structure doesn’t collapse, or why it works as well as it does.

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Reviews: “Going Green”

Monday, June 7th, 2010

going green logo

Here are a set of mini-reviews of four important new books on “going green.”

Click the titles below for information on location and availability.

  • Global warming is good for business by Kimberly B. Keilbach. Quill Driver Books, 2009.Provides practical advice on identifying entrepreneurial opportunities, and describes new green technologies that have the potential to power a new generation of innovation.
  • Two billion cars: driving toward sustainability by Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gordon. Oxford University Press, 2009.Describes the reluctance of auto manufacturers to employ promising new technologies for reducing the auto’s carbon footprint and recommends solutions for change.
  • How to cool the planet : geoengineering and the audacious quest to fix earth’s climate. by Jeff Goodell. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.Explores options for cooling earth’s climate in a hurry, focusing on strange and promising ideas that are beginning to attract research dollars, such as “cloud brightening,” pumping water droplets into the air to buffer ocean clouds’ reflectivity.
  • Strategy for sustainability: a business manifesto by Adam Werbach. Harvard Business Press, 2009.Shows business leaders how to formulate a green strategy attuned to social, economic and cultural trends, and to implement it by engaging people inside the company and within the community..

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Resources for Sustainable Development

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

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Holliday, Charles O. (“Chad”) Walking the talk : the business case for sustainable development. Greenleaf, 2002.

Kross, Katie. Profession and purpose : a resource guide for MBA careers in sustainability. Greenleaf, 2009.

Seireeni, Richard. The gort cloud : the invisible force powering today’s most visible green brands. Chelsea Green Publishers, 2008.

The authors of these 3 books were the opening Keynote Speaker, Strategy Moderator, and Strategy Panelist at The Duke Conference on Sustainable Business and Social Impact (SBSI), held on February 17, 2010 here at the Fuqua School of Business.

All 3 of the above titles are available for check-out here in Ford Library. Just click a linked title above to request one of the books.

Don’t miss other important titles in Ford Library’s extensive collection of books on sustainable development.

We also encourage Fuqua users to take a look at the “Green Careers” Insider Guide at our affiliate WetFeet Career Resource site. After connecting, click the”Insider Guides” link at the page top, then “Industries & Careers General” at the left.

If you’d like to suggest other books on sustainable development for our collection, please let us know!

The Future of Capitalism

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The lecture, “Building a Sustainable Energy Future: Market Approaches to Choices and Trade-offs” will be held today; Thursday, November 5th from 4–6 p.m. in Geneen Auditorium.

This is the first of a four-part series and represents a joint collaboration between the Fuqua School of Business and McKinsey Quarterly.  The series will consist of forums on the following areas:  energy, the financial system, globalization and business education.

Check out some of these new titles from the Ford Library on sustainability (click on a link to place a hold or check availability). Or come browse our Sustainability display at the front of the library:

Book Reviews: Sustainable Investing

Monday, October 19th, 2009

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Kiernan, Matthew J. Investing in a sustainable world : why GREEN is the new color of money on Wall Street. Wiley, 2009.

Krosinsky, Cary and Nick Robins, eds. Sustainable investing : the art of long-term performance. Earthscan, 2008.

Traditionally, ethical and socially responsible investing has been driven by personal values. While this approach has been successful in some sectors in the U.S. and the U.K., the mainstream institutional marketplace has been out of reach. But now, research by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors shows that companies with superior positioning on sustainability issues achieved superior financial returns. Two new books discuss how both Wall Street and Main Street are now interested in investing in ethical, social and green companies to attain long term financial performance.

In Investing in a Sustainable World, Innovest founder and CEO Matthew J. Kiernan makes the business case for integrating environmental and social considerations into investment decisions. He presents conceptual and practical tools to help investors realize environmental, social and financial objectives at the same time. (more…)

Book Review: Revolution in a bottle …

Monday, June 8th, 2009

images courtesy

Szaky, Tom. Revolution in a bottle : how TerraCycle is redefining green business. Portfolio, 2008.

Once I carried some bags of semi-composted leaf litter from our neighbor’s curb to mulch a new garden bed in front of our house. The neighbor was furious. “I paid good money for those bags,” he shouted.
So when I read in Tom Szaky’s Revolution in a Bottle, that his neighbors called the police because he took plastic bottles out of their recycling bins on the curb, I was totally sympathetic. But I was already hooked on this account of the first product in the world that was made entirely from and packaged entirely in waste.

Author Szaky dropped out of Princeton in 2002 and founded a company that makes products from waste. Szaky’s company TerraCycle uses worms to recycle garbage into fertilizer, which is bottled into used plastic liters found in the trash. This is the story about a green entrepreneur and his company — how it started, overcame many challenges and grew to a successful venture. A company that began with garbage from Princeton Univ.dining halls grew to a company that produced 100 products in 15,000 big box stores. (more…)

TED Talk: Business Logic of Sustainability

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

If you have seen the documentary The Corporation you may remember Ray Anderson, owner of the carpet company Interface.  He retooled the company to take advantage of sustainable business practices after reading Paul Hawken’s book The Ecology of Commerce.

He has a new TED talk up on the business logic of sustainability.

MIT Case Studies Online

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

MIT Sloan is now offering free case studies through their new web site called MIT Sloan Teaching Innovation Resources. The case studies cover the following management areas: industry evolution, sustainability, and global entrepreneurship.

Earth Month, Environmental Issues, and New Books

Monday, March 31st, 2008

stack of books image courtesy of Dartmouth Univ.

April is Earth Month at Duke. Also, the 8th Annual MBA International Retreat will be held on Energy & the Environment (May 31st-June 1st).

See these new titles at the Ford Library on energy, the environment, and sustainability issues. As always, you can click on any title below to check availability or to place a hold.

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