Leaders have accepted an inconvenient truth: business as usual is dead. They have expanded their thinking to address global challenges.

They have set incentives that allow sustainability to drive innovation. They have rejected secrecy and embraced transparency, and entered into partnership with consumers to shape the future.

To begin, a sustainable business:
* Delivers value for investors, customers, and employees.
* Raises the standard of living of the community in which it operates.
* Uses resources wisely.
* Treats its employees fairly.

Sustainability entails societal as well as environmental considerations, because today's global issues include not only global warming, but also growing attention to human rights, a struggling world economy, and emerging global markets like China and India. Businesses were once accountable only to their stockholders and to government regulators.

Now, information technology and social media have joined traditional media to add radical transparency to the list of behaviors demanded by the public.
Moreover, experts have long pointed out that there is simply not enough fossil fuel, clean water, raw materials, anything--to allow every inhabitant of the planet to enjoy the current Western lifestyle.

Western consumers must embrace the concept of sustainable consumption, or, face an increasingly hostile world. Also, the demand for immediate gratification makes it very hard to sell alterations that will benefit generations yet unborn, but may cause a short-term drop in earnings.

To survive, a business must:
* Think bigger. Global challenges require global solutions.
* Aim for sustainability.
* Set incentives to encourage sustainable innovation.
* Acknowledge the new expectation of transparency and embrace it.
* Turn consumers into partners by stimulating market demand for sustainability.

The competition may already be doing these things. Big corporations are aiming at sustainability, and corporate leaders are daring to take the long view.

Sustainable excellence may not be a formula for success, but those who trivialize it are certain to lose. Business as usual is dead.

Author's Bio: 

Samantha Johnson is the online content creator for Business Book Summaries. BBS summaries are created by a dedicated team of professionals.

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