Book Review of Embedded Sustainability

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・Business ・APA

The Authors and Why They Have Written This Book

He works at the Weatherhead Management School as a world beneficial agent at Case West Reserve University, a company professor at Char and Chuck Fowler Center and a professor of industry. Chris Laszlo is PhD's. He serves in addition as Chuck Fowler Center's Faculty Executive Director. He has published four other books all over the business sector in addition to the Embedded Sustainability. He is a person who coined the word sustainability in the business sector and rewrites the term as a key driver of creativity, excellent worker participation, turning climate, business opportunities and social risks,and a new, incomparable, source of competitive advantage. As one of the founders and organization partner of Sustainable Value, Partners LLC. Chris Laszlo offers senior managers and leaders of the world’s leading companies with business advisory services. He has chaired several business seminars and widely addressed the issue of sustainability for strategic advantage at various largest business schools such as Cornel University, INSEAD, Kenan-Flagler Business School and Darden School of Business. He has also led business seminars in different world leading companies. Adding to his, consulting services and academic experience, Laszlo has also worked as an executive for ten years at Lafarge, one of the biggest building materials company in  the world where he worked as head of the strategy, business development vice president and a general manager of manufacturing subsidiary.

On the other hand, Nadya Zhexembayeva, Ph.D., works as Professor of Sustainable Development at IEDC Bled School of Management which is an executive education school found in Slovenia. In this school, Nadya teaches courses such as organizational behavior, change management, leadership, sustainability and design thinking. She is also a business owner and has a number of companies under her management. These companies include real estate, consulting and investment industries. Her current customer engagements are companies such as Coca-Cola Company, Erste Bank, ENRC Plc, Knauf, Vienna Insurance Group and Henkel. In addition she a vice president of challenge that is a global student think tank, and innovation contest. She obtained her organizational Behavior Ph.D. in Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western University, the United States where she was also an Associate Director, as an Agent of World Benefit at the center for Business now referred to as Fowler Center for Sustainable Value until 2008. So it is clear that these two authors have been in the business field for a long time and have experienced many things that have led them to write this book with the aim of helping corporates and students taking business courses in colleges. 

Summary of Embedded Sustainability

In their book, Embedded Sustainability, Laszlo, and Zhexembayeva have built their argument on foundation of making sustainability an essential and integrated constituent of business strategy. They are trying to relay the message to corporate managers who are the main target of their work that sustainability is a crucial component and an indispensable condition needed for a good strategy that generates a competitive edge now as well as in the future (Gentile, 2013). Despite the main audience of this book being the corporate managers, its clear organization, and accessible style also makes it useful as a supporting material for the business courses in colleges which is the reason why most of the students taking these courses use this book to supplement other materials. In my review, I will demonstrate the contents and structure which are categorized in the following sub-divisions, Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV.

Part I

In Part I authors start by giving the background of the sustainability where they addresses “The BIG three trends” around the sustainability that are involved in reshaping business reality which include declining resources, increasing expectations and radical transparency. The authors classify the first trend “declining resources” into four main issues that include energy, food, water, and biodiversity. The Radical transparency is attributed to a group of related developments such as a vast number of sustainability programs, which Paul Hawken says has made this trend the largest movement in the world. Other factors that may lead to the Radical Transparency include the presence of low communication cost, the emergence of cooperative patterns between the earlier opponents (such as large companies and environmental NGOs) and fresh connectivity culture as well as freely flowing data (Laszlo & Zhexembayeva, 2011). The next is the third big trend called “increasing expectations” where an explanation of how a massive group of stakeholders such as employees, clients, regulators and investors appeals for corporate sustainability is given. Chapter 2 links to the trends description and it explains the significance of the creation of societal value through the corporate. The writers suggest businesses prior to eleven generations ago were an important part of the society because of value they generated. The emergence of the corporation as organizational form led to the separation of business and society, but the two are currently being reconciled. The rest of this chapter builds on the sustainable value foundation as it was first suggested in 2003 by Laszlo that takes the co-creation of stakeholder and shareholder values as the sustainability criterion, a conceptual choice that will be scrutinized further in final part of the discussion of this review.

Part II

Part II merges sustainability value idea with the classic tactical management thinking. This starts in chapter 3 of the book where the authors introduce the mainstreams of thought found in strategy landscape and also explain universal strategic responses aimed at sustainability. Such responses may range from alleviating risks to getting into new markets and mimic distinctive description of types of corporate cases for sustainability. Chapter 4 of the book, this comprehensive view is again operationalized through the application of sustainable value creation into three main specific common strategy frameworks which include, Christensen Disruptive innovation, Porter Generic and Mauborgne and Kim Blue Ocean strategies (Laszlo & Zhexembayeva, 2011). In this chapter, authors highlight the way corporate sustainability can promote the generation of any strategic positioning on two-by-two Porter’s matrix, be it cost or differentiation in both small and bigger markets. On the other hand, in Mauborgne and Kim’s strategy sustainability can serve companies to generate totally new curves that may, in turn, help the companies to enter the marketplace that has no any dispute or in other words blue oceans.

Christensen’s disruptive innovation strategy is then applied to explain the significance of formulating a process that will transform an entire value network in an organized manner, which a vital success aspect for creating change for sustainability. All of these strategy frameworks are then combined to form “Embedded Sustainability” in chapter 5, (P. 106) which is a diagnostic tactic to support businesses’ sustainability journey by disclosing any possible transformation pathway. In this chapter, authors describe embedded sustainability as a form business of sustainability possessing characteristics such as generating sustainable value, transformative association with partners and embeddedness into the main corporate. They differentiate this from bolt-on sustainability (p. 103) using characteristics such as ranking shareholder value before stakeholder value, an emphasis on mitigation of risk and efficiency, and rather the transactional relationships (Laszlo & Zhexembayeva, 2011). Authors use Porter‘s value chain model in an attempt of bringing all these features together in a single framework and give an analysis of total value-added scenario.

Part III

Part III focuses entirely on achieving changes for embedded sustainability. In chapter 6, the authors introduce a collection of four competencies that are seen as suitable tool for tackling the hurdles the corporate sustainability may encounter. These competencies include inquiry, wholeness, design and appreciation. Every competence is described depending on its relevance to the corporate sustainability change process and is abstractly outlined and illustrated in instances of the application. Chapter six also gives an introduction to basics of change management and applies them to sustainability change. The chapter lists core tasks to be fulfilled in the entire of four stages of “getting the right start,” “staying right,” building buy-in and “moving from incremental to breakthrough.” In chapter 7, which in most cases is branded “putting it all together,” the authors summarize the major concepts suggested in the book and how they all interconnect from a broader perspective (Laszlo & Zhexembayeva, 2011).  

Part IV

Most of the other several books would have had concluded at this poit. Nonetheless, Laszlo and Zhexembayeva have gone a step further and provided an extra fourth section with a viewpoint of prospective future of business sustainability as well as the environment surrounding it. Chapter 8 uses a story-telling method to give the description of how it would be like in 2041 using the eye of a fresh job seeker. The person gives a visit to the international company specializing in sustainability expertise and with an emphasis on sustainable transportation for a job interview (Laszlo & Zhexembayeva, 2011). This chapter also gives a comprehensive explanation of the history of international sustainability crisis which has been recently overcome. In chapter 10 authors have listed inconvenient broader perspective questions which must be put into consideration so that corporates and other parties may find a way into a sustainable future illustrated in previous chapters. These questions are listed as, “growth or no growth?” “Is it the role of the government or NGOs?” “Should we stop bad or create good?” “What is essential, revolution or evolution?” “Should we restore or transform nature?” “Should our general attitude regarding sustainability be one of fear or enlightened self-interest?”

Application of the Book to Current Business Environment

Today, the information contained in this book can be applied in cases where the individual has an interest in merging strategic management and business sustainability. From the sustainable mobility point of view chapter, 9 is particularly interesting because it offers a narrative, though fictional it provides an account of what might happen on a daily basis in future, technologies supporting sustainable transportation and industry structures. The book may also be useful to transportation companies, especially those ones related to the automotive sector. For instance, in chapter 9 author have provided several examples of companies within the transportation field which have great potential if they apply corporate sustainability mechanism. This book is a huge plus to managers, and they will largely benefit from the book because authors have reduced the conceptual complexity and ability to reveal the importance of concepts in practice by using storytelling method and a wide array of real-life examples in the entire of the book. Apart from the business, the book may also be applied in the other areas (Laasch & Conaway, 2015). However, application of business sustainability is not as simple as it sounds theoretical because the role of business in supporting sustainable development still remains unspecified. While most of the corporates might contribute to the attainment of this sustainability, the capability to induce a different is different depending on size and sector of organization (Chandler & Werther, 2013). Most of the managers consider the main objective of the company to be generating profits whereas some consider a broader perspective role. There is no agreement among corporate executives as to the ideal balance between slim self-interest and steps taken to maintain a good relationship with the society. 

What I Have Learned

After reading this book, I have changed my view that corporate sustainability may be harmful to the companies that established other strategies a long time ago. For instance, I thought that it would not be wise for companies to adopt business sustainability because it could affect the profits made by the companies as a result of the trade-offs involved during the transition phase. A good example is a chemical company producing excess waste products and is considering to build a more effective treatment plant to sustain the environment. This company will be in a dilemma whether to close its current plant for a longer period as it awaits for the new one to be built and therefore risk losing its market share or continue with current one and risk extra cost of fines and bad reputations. However, I have learned that corporate sustainability is the best approach because it is bringing the society into the equation and it can lead to expanded market share when the company’s reputation is excellent. Sustainability approach also plays a great role in the conservation of the environment. It may look expensive at first but important on a long-term basis.

General Opinion

Overall, embedded sustainability is a great book targeting business audience with also with potential use in other sectors. The book has to induce small conceptual compromises but in turn is fulfills its essential objective and that is to make its target audience to access business sustainability. These people are the ones involved in strategic decision-making and are in a position to bring impact towards generating more sustainable companies. 


Chandler, D.  B., & Werther, W. B.  (2013). Strategic corporate social responsibility: Stakeholders, globalization, and sustainable value creation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Gentile, M. C. (2013). Educating for values-driven leadership: Giving Voice to Values across the curriculum. Business Expert Press.

Laasch, O., & Conaway, R. N. (2015). Principles of responsible management: Glocal sustainability, responsibility, ethics.  Mason: Cengage.

Laszlo, C., & Zhexembayeva, N. (2011). Embedded sustainability: The next big competitive advantage. Greenleaf publishing.

Get a price
Academic level
Pages *275 words
Total price
$ 0 .00
$ 0 .00

Prices that are easy on your wallet

Our experts are ready to do an excellent job starting at $14.99 per page

What Clients Say About Us
Our Customers Rated UsGreat
Out of 5 Based on 357 Reviews
I experienced difficult times trying to complete huge number of assignments to my university at the same time and you, guys, literally saved me. Everything was done in time and on the highest level! I really appreciate your help.
Essay, History, 12 pages, 7 days, Master's
First time when I placed an order with you, I just lacked time to do all the homework and it was a lot going on in my family. But today I’m doing it sometimes just for fun – I really enjoy communicating with your Customer Support members and just letting myself being a bit lazy
Yuong Lo Mui,
Literature review, IT, 17 pages, 4 days, Master's
My GPA is 4.0 and I’ve always been doing everything myself, but there is a class which I was about to fail thus my GPA would decrease first time in so many years. I ordered few assignments to be completed with and you did a great job! Thanks to you I still remain one of the best students on campus.
Essay, Politics, 8 pages, 5 days, Junior
I am not used to such services and I usually write all the papers by myself. But this time I got in a very difficult situation and had to order my paper on this website. To my surprise it appeared to be quite good. Thank you, it is really nice service. Think I'll get back to you soon!
Thesis, Management, 34 pages, 14 days, Master's
I am on my maternity leave now, so I spend a lot of time at home taking care of my little son. I’ve decided to get one more higher education degree while I’m spending so much time at home and applied for distance learning in one online college. But caring a baby takes even more time then I excepted so I’m the way too busy to write the complicated masters level research works, but is so-so-so cool! Thank you for that you exist! I don’t know what I would do without you all!
Essay, Education, 15 pages, 8 days, Master's
I am studying and working at the same time and it is difficult to cope with university assignments as I am very tired after the work day. You service is a salvation for me as it helps to do everything on time. I am really happy about it. Wish you everything the best! Especially my lovely writer 109!
Coursework, Religion, 11 pages, 7 days, Master's

We at

work according to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which means you have the control over your personal data. All payment transactions go through a secure online payment system, thus your Billing information is not stored, saved or available to the Company in any way. Additionally, we guarantee confidentiality and anonymity all throughout your cooperation with our Company.

Try our service with 15% Discount for your first order!   Try our service with 15% Discount for your first order!   Try our service with 15% Discount for your first order!  

Order Now