How smart companies turn sustainability
into billion-dollar businesses
What do Brazil’s largest beauty brand, America’s second-fastest growing restaurant chain and one of 2015’s hottest stocks have in common?
The answer will surprise you. The companies displaying these extraordinary results have succeeded while defying conventional business wisdom.
What unites Natura, Chipotle, the Toyota Prius and Tesla Motors (as well as IKEA, Whole Foods, Unilever, GE’s Ecomagination and Nike Flyknit) is this: each of them now commands over a billion dollars in annual revenue from a business line with sustainability or social good at its core.
These are the Green Giants - nine companies that have succeeded in building wildly successful businesses while selling products and services designed to help us live happier, healthier, more environmentally conscious lives. Together they represent over $100 billion in annual revenue and outperform their competitors in the stock market by 11%.
How have they overturned prevailing business wisdom—and succeeded where so many others failed? How have they become successful businesses by any standard— not just the standard of sustainable business?
THE GREEN GIANTS are the leaders in an inexorable business movement.
Ignore their example at your peril.
100% of pork, beef, and chicken are naturally raised and a majority of dairy is pasture raised. It is the only publicly traded restaurant to have achieved these ratios and is the nation’s largest restaurant purchaser of sustainable and humanely reared meats.
30% of sales are organic, more than any other national retailer. The first national supermarket to have its retail operation be certified organic.
Committed to doubling its sales while halving its environmental footprint by 2020. Aims to source 100% of its agricultural feedstocks from sustainable agriculture and to improve the lives of 1 billion people.
Manufactures the world’s first commercially successful all-electric vehicle.
The world’s largest and first publicly traded B Corp. Its goal is to source one-third of ingredients sustainably from the Amazon. A pioneer of integrated reporting.
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, 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 tomorrows new billion $ brands.
Carol L. Cone, CEO, Carol Cone: On Purpose
We face a crisis of leadership in the corporate world which is hampering business from becoming a force for good. Many leaders are stuck in an old paradigm that no longer serves their businesses, wider society or the earth on which we all depend. They need to find the courage to stand up and set their companies on the path to transformation and this important contribution from Freya Williams shows that rich rewards await for those who do.
Jo Confino, Executive Editor, Impact and Innovation, The Huffington Post
The mega challenges we face today are profoundly changing “business as usual.” But this is about more than reducing risks or costs -- it’s about capturing the upside as well. Williams’ book should help trigger a race to the top for those leaders wishing to unlock the market’s next billion - or even trillion - dollar opportunity.
Andrew Winston, author, Green to Gold and The Big Pivot, CEO Winston Eco-Strategies
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
A densely referenced and immersive endorsement for the durability and humanitarianism of business ventures retrofitted for sustainability.