Policy Press

Publishing with a purpose

Urgent Business

Five Myths Business Needs to Overcome to Save Itself and the Planet

By Ian Thomson and Dominic Bates

Published

Feb 22, 2022

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1529217599

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Feb 22, 2022

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1529217605

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Urgent Business

Getting business on board is essential if we want to achieve the United Nations’ goal of building a better future for people and planet by 2030. But much of the sustainable business agenda falls woefully short of what is needed, with some practices even accelerating the problems they’re trying to solve.

In Urgent Business Ian Thomson and Dominic Bates, a business school professor and a former journalist, combine their expert insight to challenge five common myths that trap businesses in an unsustainable black-hole and offer a manifesto for change. Combining cutting-edge research – from AI and systems theory to climate science and behavioural economics – with fascinating real-world examples, the authors highlight the practical and holistic steps all businesses can take to play their part in addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. .

"This book moved my thinking from SMART to SIMPLE (strategic, interconnected, meaningful, purposeful, long-term, educative). If we are going to urgently deliver the SDGs we need to make executing and reporting for business literally and acronymically SIMPLE." Manjula Lee, World Wide Generation and the G17Eco platform

“I wish I had the advantage of this book in shaping the responsible business journey of the consumer goods companies I was a leader in.” Andraea Dawson-Shepherd, C-Suite Executive, Global FMCG/CPG

“Many books claim to inform the new science of ESG (environmental, social and governance), but here's a novelty: a well-informed, broad-based, practical guide to help purposeful, responsible business do things right.” Tom Levitt, Consultant, Sector 4 Focus, co-founder of Fair for You

"Takes the Sustainable Development Goals and integrates them with systems thinking and 30 years of careful study of business activities to create a myth-busting and inspiring book." Jan Bebbington, Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business, Lancaster University

“As someone who helped develop the UN’s Global Goals, I know how crucial this fast-disappearing ‘decade of action’ is to averting an apocalyptic future, which is why this book is so important in helping translate the Goals into practical steps every business can take now." Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever

Ian Thomson is Professor of Accounting and Sustainability and Director of Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business at the University of Birmingham. He is also Convenor of the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research.

Dominic Bates is Content Writer and Publication Manager at Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business, University of Birmingham. Previously he was a professional journalist and editor for two national charities, while also freelancing for the Guardian, FT and Independent.

Foreword by Paul Polman

Preface

Joining the dots

Myth 1: A successful business is a growing and profitable one

Myth 2: Only manage what you can measure

Myth 3: Laser-like focus gets results

Myth 4: The consumer is always right

Myth 5: Irresponsible decisions are made by irresponsible leaders

Do something

Appendices