Making Sustainability Stick: The Blueprint for Successful Implementation

Kevin Wilhelm  
Total pages
August 2015

Product detail

Product Price CHF Available  
Making Sustainability Stick: The Blueprint for Successful Implementation
40.70 not defined


What do you mean when you say “Sustainability?” This question is all too often raised because what one person thinks will be very different from another. The first step in any sustainability plan is to first define sustainability — what it means to your company, settle on a common definition, and put it into language that all employees and stakeholders can both understand and get behind.


Making Sustainability Stick is tailored for those that are starting out in this process or have seen their efforts stall in realizing the business benefits of sustainability. This book provides the blueprint for implementation, breaking down barriers, and the steps required to integrate sustainability successfully.


It is laid out in easily digestible chapters, with action steps backed up from interviews with sustainability thought leaders, case studies, and the real life experience of the author who has consulted with over 75 organizations on sustainability.


This is the perfect book for those who are in the trenches or are just about to embark on their sustainability journey.


Presents an 11-step action plan for companies trying to integrate sustainability into their operations 

  • Provides the step-by-step roadmap for implementing sustainability successfully
  • Focuses on “how” companies can realize the benefits of sustainability by engaging the head, heart, and hands of their employees.
  • Provides a checklist for implementation and tips on how to regain momentum or get “un-stuck” at the end of each chapter.
  • Delivers resources and exercises to overcome the most common barriers towards implementation.

Table of Contents

Introduction     1
How to Use This Book     5
Chapter 1: The Business Case     9
Chapter 2: Defining Sustainability     45
Chapter 3: Understanding Your Stakeholders and What Is Material to Them     53
Chapter 4: Baselining Sustainability to Measure What Matters     75
Chapter 5: Goals/Vision and Your Sustainability North Star     103
Chapter 6: Management Support Is Essential     129
Chapter 7: Understanding Change Management to Guide Implementation     141
Chapter 8: Engaging Employees Around Sustainability     177
Chapter 9: Systems, Decision Making, and Internal Alignment     201
Chapter 10: Institutionalizing Sustainability     227
Chapter 11: Communicating Sustainability Internally     245
Individuals Interviewed for This Book     265
Citations and Endnotes     267
Index     279

Back Cover

“Super practical. Wilhelm shares the way to get things done, combining industry best practices and wisdom from his real-world consulting experience.”
-- HUNTER LOVINS, President, Natural Capitalism Solutions

“This is a book about culture change, fully woven into a book about sustainability. How to change culture is the holy grail of sustainability champions. Kevin nails it.”
-- BOB WILLARD, author and speaker, The Sustainability Advantage

“This is the quintessential ‘how to’ guidebook for companies that want to implement sustainability and make it last.”
-- GIFFORD PINCHOT, Cofounder and President, Bainbridge Graduate Institute

“This book encapsulates the best of Drucker, Collins, Senge, and Willard in one place and focuses it on how to operationalize sustainability.”
-- MIKE BELLAMENTE, Director, Climate Counts

A Complete Blueprint for Driving Business Value from Sustainability--Now and for Years to Come

To realize the enormous financial, social, and environmental benefits of sustainability, you need to integrate it into everything your company does. Many companies have set out to do this, but few have fully achieved success. This book helps you transform sustainability from “something the company does” to a core source of value creation and innovation for the business--one that everyone can see, measure, and buy into.

Drawing on his experience helping more than 75 companies profit from sustainability, Kevin Wilhelm helps you identify opportunities, overcome numerous barriers and obstacles, engage employees, gain deep executive and stakeholder support, implement policies, and drive the behavior change necessary to get results. Wilhelm shares insights from dozens of business and thought leaders, including many who’ve gone “off the record” to be stunningly frank about the lessons they’ve learned.

This book is packed with tips, checklists, worksheets, and strategies for making sustainability real. It helps you identify your best opportunities to drive value through sustainability--and systematically integrate it into every decision, product, function, job, and market.

  • The Business Case: Why You’re Playing The Game
    Proving the added value of sustainability: from cost savings to risk reduction to customer loyalty
  • The Fundamentals: “Blocking and Tackling” Building Blocks
    Setting goals, baselining, and gaining the management and stakeholder support you need
  • Long-Term Value Creation: Scoring and Winning the Game
    Managing change, engaging employees, and institutionalizing sustainable systems
  • Getting from Here to There--From Wherever You Are Right Now
    Assessing where you stand, what to do first, and how to bring that vision to reality


Kevin Wilhelm is the one of the world’s preeminent business consultants in the field of sustainability and climate change. He is the CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting, a Seattle-based consulting firm focused on demonstrating the bottom-line business benefits of sustainability and then leading companies through successful implementation. Kevin brings nearly two decades of experience working with businesses ranging from Fortune 500 multinationals to medium-sized businesses. His clients include Nordstrom, REI, The North Face, Alaska Airlines, Redbox, Expeditors,, Puget Sound Energy, and more than 75 others.

Previously he wrote the acclaimed Return on Sustainability: How Business Can Increase Profitability and Address Climate Change in an Uncertain Economy, and he is a professor at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, where he teaches various courses on sustainable business.