A Simple Path to Sustainability

Green Business Strategies for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

by Fred Andreas, Elizabeth S. Cooperman, Blair Gifford, and Graham Russell, Editors


Sustainability has become an important competitive advantage and small and medium-size businesses are anxious to share the wealth. With new environmental regulations soon to be imposed, and lucrative opportunities for becoming part of a new green economy increasing, the time to commit to sustainability is now. How can smaller companies make the leap?

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Cover image for A Simple Path to Sustainability

March 2011


Pages 253
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Business/Strategy

With unequaled insight, business experts profile 12 outstanding, sustainable, small- to medium-sized enterprises and explain how their green strategies and methods have helped them succeed.

A Simple Path to Sustainability: Green Business Strategies for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses is designed specifically to help smaller enterprises share in the benefits that flow from sustainability. Built around case histories showcasing 12 small to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that have outstanding records of sustainability, this unique, hands-on guide will help readers choose and develop sustainability strategies and undertake the marketing and management initiatives necessary for success.

The studies collected here detail each company's journey from initial idea through building a new culture, engaging stakeholders, gaining competitive advantage, and planning for the future. Each study also covers the challenges encountered, successes and failures, and lessons learned. Cases are centered around distinct themes, including a marketing/public relations perspective, a risk management perspective, an organizational culture perspective, and a new product development perspective. Taken as a whole, these stories do more than inform. They will inspire managers to become green entrepreneurs, undertaking sustainable strategies that can reap surprising benefits.


  • Case histories of small to medium-size enterprises in industries from manufacturing to health care, banking/investing, and recycling detailing their journeys to sustainability and environmental stewardship
  • A "Lessons Learned" box in each chapter
  • Sidebars with tips and examples that can be used by any type of business
  • A reference bibliography at the end of each chapter
  • A glossary


  • Provides a wealth of information on current issues in sustainability for firms that would like to learn how to become socially responsible and gain competitive advantages in doing so
  • Shares knowledge of current issues in sustainability and the benefits firms can achieve through green strategies
  • Presents ways to implement sustainability strategies and succeed, despite limited resources
  • Shows companies how to measure and evaluate the costs and benefits of alternative green strategies and how to develop new customer bases, new management and marketing strategies, and new green products
Author Info

Fred Andreas is a principal architect registered in the state of Colorado and a National Certified Architect, NCARB LEED, AP, and assistant professor in the College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado, Denver, CO. Andreas has 30 years experience in ecological, sustainable, and green design throughout the United States.

Elizabeth S. Cooperman is professor of finance in the Business School at the University of Colorado, Denver, CO. Cooperman serves as the MBA program director and codirector for the Managing for Sustainability Program for the Business School.

Blair Gifford is associate professor of health administration and management in the Business School at the University of Colorado, Denver, CO. He also serves as associate director for the Center for Global Health and teaches in the Department of Preventive Medicine, the Clinical Sciences Department, and the Health and Behavioral Sciences program.

Graham Russell is executive director of Connected Organizations for a Responsible Economy (CORE) in Denver, CO. Born, raised, and educated in the United Kingdom, Russell has spent the last 32 years in the United States, largely in CEO roles in the transportation and environmental service industries. In recent years, he has devoted himself to consulting work, mainly in the recycling and environmental services and clean-tech sectors.



"Twelve success stories showing that ordinary people working in ordinary enterprises but inspired to do extra-ordinary things can transform businesses, communities, regional economies, and improve our long-term prospects . . . sustainability freed from jargon, puffery, and professional experts may, indeed, be a simpler path to a durable economy."—David Orr, the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College and Author of Design on the Edge: The Making of a High Performance Building

"There’s a perception that sustainability is only for large companies. This book illustrates that sustainability can just as easily be the cornerstone for small business success. The collaborative nature of this book, involving professionals, educators and grad students from varied disciplines creates a fascinating expose of sustainable small business practices in a wide range of industries. No matter what business you're in, you'll find plenty in here that applies to you. I highly recommend this book to those interested in sustainable approaches and methodology in today’s business world."—L. Hunter Lovins, President and Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS) and Coauthor of Climate Capitalism and Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution

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