How to Make Your Company a Recognised Sustainability Champion

How to Make Your Company a Recognised Sustainability Champion
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“The greatest skill in life is to say something useful, briefly. That’s what Brendan’s done here. Engaging and to the point, his book is based on years of practical experience on the subject of building a sustainable business, where brevity (and usefulness) are rarely the norm. Read, learn, do!” 

MIKE BARRY, Head of Sustainable Business, Marks & Spencer

Is it really worth the time and resources to make your company a recognised sustainability champion? And how on earth should you go about it? In this concise and practical book, Brendan May demonstrates why the companies that will be fit for purpose in 2020 are addressing sustainability now, and then outlines a strategy for how to do that. 

May draws on 15 years experience on the front line of sustainable business -- as Chief Executive of a business–NGO partnership, as an environmental campaigner and as advisor to multinational corporations on sustainability strategy and communications -- and outlines the emerging trends that will change the rules of the game forever. 

By the time you've finished this book you'll know who you need to know, what you need to know, and the do's and don'ts in the quest to make your business a true champion of sustainability.


“Brendan May cuts through the crap with insight, humour and frontline experience. Few come out unscathed but you will find yourself continuously nodding in agreement.” 

JOHN SAUVEN, Executive Director, Greenpeace UK

“This is a superb guide for every company executive: clear, short, necessary and from someone with hands-on experience. It is necessary for two reasons. First because every firm will be affected by the demands of sustainability in a world that must confront them. Secondly, it shows how to avoid waste and save money. Who can argue with that?”

ROBYN WILLIAMS, science broadcaster

"Sustainability will be crucial to the future success of any business. Here at last is a practical, common sense approach to sustainability that all businesses can follow. This no nonsense guide explains how each business function has an important part to play in the development and implementation of a successful strategy. Most importantly it outlines how such involvement will deliver commercial benefit and real profitability.” 

RICHARD ELLIS, CSR Director, Alliance Boots Group
"Brendan May doesn’t mince his words: “Sustainability,” he declares early in this short e-book, “is in fact the entire basis of all future commerce.” He’s right! The trouble is much of the discussion about business and sustainability gets lost in jargon and undermined by earnest worthiness. Neither of those criticisms can be levelled at May. There’s plenty of common-sense and strategic wisdom. Well worth an hour’s read – and plenty of follow-up usage." 

DAVID GRAYSON CBE is director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at the Cranfield School of Management in the UK

"If you want your company to be a corporate champion of sustainability...listen to Brendan May. He knows the mistakes and the triumphs - the companies who sing and the companies who suck, the NGOs you should not cross and those that can be ignored.  Rarely does so much good advice come in such a short, readable package."

CHARLES CLOVER, The Sunday Times 

“Brendan May is one of the most direct and candid communicators of true sustainability.  He does us all a service by putting down his thoughts in this excellent and concise guide for those of us who want to be champions.” 

PROFESSOR MICHAEL MAINELLI, Executive Chairman, Z/Yen Group 

"A must-read guide for any company wanting to be known as a serious player in the sustainable business movement. Based on years of experience in both the NGO and corporate worlds, Brendan May's book is blunt, often funny, and crammed with useful tips." 

TONY JUNIPER, Senior Associate, Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership 

“It is a truism that money makes the world go round, but it is conversations that make the money go round. If you want to make the money go round sustainably then you need to be adept at the right conversations. Brendan May’s handy little guide to sustainable development in business is an excellent primer in how to make the sustainability conversation go round effectively both within companies and with external stakeholders. Brendan has condensed his experience of effective sustainable Development conversations into just the right read for those with too much to read already.” 

TOM BURKE, CBE, Founding Director to E3G and Environment Policy Advisor to Rio Tinto


BRENDAN MAY is Founder of the Robertsbridge Group, a leading sustainability consultancy formed in 2010 by a number of prominent environmental thinkers. He was previously Managing Director of Weber Shandwick’s global sustainability practice. From 1999-2004 Brendan was Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), one of the earliest green/business partnership success stories. Brendan is a former Contributing Editor to Ethical Corporation. He was UK Chairman of the Rainforest Alliance, and sits on the organisation’s global board of directors. In the past few years Brendan has advised a range of multinational companies on sustainability issues, including Unilever, Nestlé, Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Sainsbury’s, UPS, Interserve Plc, Orange Mobile, American Airlines, Cargill, Ecolab, Alliance Boots and Kimberly Clark Professional. 


Understanding the Landscape 
Deciding How, When and Whom to Engage in Dialogue 
The Business of NGO Relations 
The tunnel-visioned zealot 
The hypocrite 
The angry activist 
The one-man band 
The smiling salesman 
The genuine article 
The overfed giant 
The critical friend 
Internal Resistance and How to Overcome It 
The far too busy and important CEO 
Traits of a CEO Sustainability Champion 
The cynical finance director 
The blinkered marketeer 
The threatened and hurt Recalcitrant managers 
How not to do it 
The Golden Rules for Success 
10 Golden Rules 
Corporate Sustainability is Ripe for Trailblazers 
The Future: Changing agendas & emerging trends 


Title: How to Make Your Company a Recognised Sustainability Champion
Author: Brendan May
Publication Date: October 2012
Page extent: 63
Formats and ISBNs: 
pdf: 9781909293205
epub: 9781909293199
print: 9781909293182

Company Sustainability, Sustainability Company, Sustainability of a Company