Cover of Can Business Save the Earth? by Michael Lenox and Aaron Chatterji
Can Business Save the Earth?
Innovating Our Way to Sustainability
Michael Lenox and Aaron Chatterji


200 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804790994
Ebook ISBN: 9781503606197

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Bronze medal in the 2020 Axiom Business Book Awards - Philanthropy / Nonprofit / Sustainability category.

Increasingly, business leaders are tasked with developing new products, services, and business models that minimize environmental impact while driving economic growth. It's a tall order—and a call that is only getting louder.

In Can Business Save the Earth?, Michael Lenox and Aaron Chatterji explain just how the private sector can help. Many believe that markets will inevitably demand sustainable practices and force them to emerge. But Lenox and Chatterji see it differently. Based on more than a decade of research and work with companies, they argue that a bright green future is only possible with dramatic innovation across multiple sectors at the same time.

To achieve this, a broader ecosystem of players—including inventors, executives, customers, investors, activists, and governments—all must play a role. The book outlines how and the extent to which each group can serve as a driver of green growth. Then, Lenox and Chatterji identify where economic incentives currently exist, or could exist with institutional change, and ultimately address the larger question of how far well-coordinated efforts can take us in addressing the current environmental crisis.

About the authors

Michael Lenox is Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean and Chief Strategy Officer at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.

Aaron Chatterji is Associate Professor of Business and Public Policy at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

"The book synthesizes research on innovation and sustainability in a way that I've not seen. The authors work through systemic issues that we must consider in order to reach a more sustainable economy."

—Glen W. S. Dowell, Cornell University

"Lenox and Chatterji make a major contribution by explaining the systematic dynamics of "going green." Their sophisticated analysis of complex challenges will enable the private sector to successfully adopt and implement sustainable innovations."

—David Vogel, University of California, Berkeley, and author of The Market for Virtue

"This marvelous book unites rigorous research with in-depth examples to show how business really might be able to save the earth. It's the perfect answer to the question my students ask me all the time: How can I make a difference?"

—Rebecca M. Henderson, Harvard Business School

"Lennox (UVA) and Chatterji (Duke) developed a model that businesses can consider when addressing climate change and environmental sustainability.The authors provide many examples of environmentally friendly efforts from businesses such as Uber, Apple, Apex Clean Energy, TerraCycle, and Home Depot."

—G.E. Kaupins, Choice

"There is bad news and good news about the state of the earth, and business school professors Michael Lenox and Aaron Chatterji address both with eye-opening accuracy in this compelling, provocative treatise....The authors make an impassioned plea, particularly to businesses, to bring to market the innovative products and services necessary to create value while reducing environmental impacts. While the tenor of Can Business Save the Earth? is generally positive, one cannot miss the real sense of urgency it conveys."

—Barry Silverstein, Foreword Magazine