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The Breakthrough Challenge: 10 Ways to Connect Today's Profits With Tomorrow's Bottom Line




The Breakthrough Challenge: 10 Ways to Connect Today's Profits With Tomorrow's Bottom Line

John Elkington, Jochen Zeitz, Sir Richard Branson (Foreword by)

ISBN: 978-1-118-53969-9 September 2014 Jossey-Bass 272 Pages


The world’s most forward-looking CEOs recognize the real challenge facing business today: a fundamental shift in the nature of commerce. While sustainability programs, government action, and nonprofits are all parts of the solution, CEOs and other leaders must focus on social, environmental, and economic benefit—not only because it will make the world a better place, but because it will ensure lasting profitability and success in the business climate of tomorrow.

The Breakthrough Challenge is both an inspiring call-to-action and a guide for this transformation, based on the work of The B Team, a major initiative uniting leaders in sustainability. As a founding advisor and member of The B Team, John Elkington and Jochen Zeitz map out an agenda for change. The most important goal for businesses must be redefining the bottom line to account for true long-term costs throughout the supply chain. To achieve this, leaders must rethink everything: what counts on balance sheets, how to incentivize performance, who does what in the C-suite, and even what inspires us. The Breakthrough Challenge draws on over 100 exclusive interviews to show this shift in action, sharing the pioneering work of leaders such as Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of The Huffington Post; Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of the Nestlé Group; and Linda Fisher, pioneering Chief Sustainability Officer at DuPont, among many others.

Change-as-usual strategies are not enough to move business from breakdowns to breakthroughs. The Breakthrough Challenge shows leaders how to achieve a true transformation and refocus the definition of profitability on the lasting wellbeing of people and planet—for the lasting success of their business.

Foreword ix
Sir Richard Branson

Preface xi

Introduction: Profit from Tomorrow’s Bottom Line 1

1 Adopt the Right Aspirations 23

2 Create New Corporate Structures 39

3 Apply True Accounting Principles 55

4 Calculate True Returns 71

5 Embrace Well-Being 87

6 Level the Playing Field 107

7 Pursue Full Transparency 123

8 Redefine Education 143

9 Learn from Nature’s Model 167

10 Keep the Long Run in Mind 179

Conclusion: Get Ready to BreakThrough 193

Notes 211

Acknowledgments 229

About the Authors 235

Index 239