Can Business Save the Planet?

New book calls for “positively responsible” businesses to lead sustainable change

Oxford, UK, May 8, 2008 – In their new book, Positively Responsible authors Erik Bichard and Cary Cooper CBE look at how individuals behave in a situation of global crisis and how businesses can start to take the necessary positive steps towards a more sustainable and financially stable future.

Inspired by years of working with businesses to lessen their environmental and social impacts and improve their competitiveness, Positively Responsible shows how sustainable business practices can be achieved without having a negative influence on either corporate leaders or their employees, by using the forces of market advantage rather than opposing them.

“Companies that choose to lead their employees and customers on sustainability issues are still dependent on enough people being ready to follow,” according to author, Erik Bichard, former Chief Executive of the UK National Centre for Business & Sustainability. “A deep understanding of behaviour change in this area is therefore fundamental to a successful business model for would be sustainability leaders.”

Positively Responsible challenges the assumption that incorporating sustainability into business strategy will be a necessarily painful and fiscally destructive process, exploring fundamental questions and issues, such as:

Are people essentially irrational and self-centred?
How do people respond at times of crisis?
How can leaders act as a bolt of light for change for their business?

Illustrated by corporate case studies taken from Nestle, Wal-Mart, Marks & Spencer, South West Airliners (SWA), The Body Shop, Ben & Jerry’s, Shell, ICI, BNFL, Boeing, DuPont, Dow, Mitsui and StoraEnso, Norsk Hydro, Amec, FRC Group, Electrolux and others, the authors show how a more proactive approach pays dividends for the future.

Positively Responsible combines a penetrating understanding of sustainable business development with a comprehensive description of what motivates or de-motivates human beings. This breakthrough approach examines the varying influences of incentives on human behaviour and how these can be used to chart a coherent and positive course of action within organizations. It recommends a new strategy for corporate social responsibility, built on a market-based justification for change, and within the crucial timescales predicted by climate researchers.


About the Authors:
Erik Bichard
Erik Bichard is Professor of Regeneration and Sustainable Development at Salford University, in Greater Manchester. During his career, he has worked as a sustainable development practitioner in the public, private, third and now academic sector. Until June 2007, and for ten years, he was Chief Executive of the UK National Centre for Business & Sustainability. In addition to his role at Salford, he has his own practice: Positively Responsible. In the past he has been Co-operatives UK’ s sustainability advisor, and currently performs the same function for the City of Liverpool. He is a member of the UK Sustainable Development Panel, and serves on several company boards as a non-executive director including the social enterprise FRC Group, and Migrant Workers North West.

Professor Bichard is a frequent contributor to newspaper, TV and radio programmes covering a range of sustainability issues from recycling and renewable energy to social cohesion and responsible business issues.

Cary L. Cooper CBE
Cary L. Cooper is Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health, and Pro Vice Chancellor at Lancaster University. He is the author/editor of over 100 books (on occupational stress, women at work, and industrial and organisational psychology), has written over 400 scholarly articles for academic journals, and is also a frequent contributor to national newspapers, TV and radio.

Professor Cooper is past President of the British Academy of Management, is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute, and one of the first UK-based Fellows of the (American) Academy of Management (having also won the 1998 Distinguished Service Award for his contribution to management science from the Academy of Management). In 2001, Cary was awarded a CBE in the Queen’ s Birthday Honours List for his contribution to occupational safety and health and, in 2007, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Division of Occupational Psychology of the British Psychological Society. He was recently included on Personnel Today’s Top 40 Power Players for 2007 and HR magazine’s 2007 Most Influential lists.

Both authors are available for press interviews and speaking engagements.

About the Book:
Positively Responsible: How Business Can Save the Planet
By Erik Bichard and Cary L. Cooper CBE
ISBN: 978-0-7506-8475-0
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Approx. 232 pages
Trim size 234 X 165 mm
Price: GBP £15.99; EUR €23.95; US $28.95
UK Publication Date: May 2008 Global Publication Date: June 9, 2008

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Media Contact:
Debbie Robinson
T: +44 1865 474207