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Green Business: Not Just the Color of Money


Sustainable business development has moved into the social fabric of corporations alongside historical parameters of business performance such as profit margins and return on investment. The transition to envelope a mindset beyond profits has been supported by initiatives founded by the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals and more recently the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, sustainable business development faces challenges in both emerging and developed nations to infuse corporate social responsibility and innovation to address current environmental conditions that endanger public health. The UN suggests that to achieve these measures will require new economic paradigms, behavioral pattern changes in corporate and consumer consumption of natural resources, adaptive policy, and commitments to limit resource use. This chapter defines the evolution of sustainability and presents key components from a business perspective. Next, the impact of business environmental sustainability on public health is discussed using several examples of how corporations address important problems such as e-waste, natural habitat conservation, and employee safety and health. From there, we review management tools to assess sustainability providing insight to corporate business ventures that are best aligned with SDGs. Finally, we summarize key points of the material and present a high-level list of best practices.


  • Sustainable business development
  • Circular economy
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Triple bottom line
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

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Further Reading

  • Crane A, Matten D. Business ethics: managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization: Oxford University Press; 2016.

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  • Karabell Z, Cramer A. Sustainable excellence: the future of business in a fast-changing world. New York: Rodale; 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  • McDonough W, Braungart M. Cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things. New York: North Point Press; 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  • Werbach A. Strategy for sustainability: a business manifesto. Boston: Harvard Business Press; 2009.

    Google Scholar 

  • Willard B. The new sustainability advantage: seven business case benefits of a triple bottom line. Gabrioloa Island: New Society; 2012.

    Google Scholar 

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Correspondence to Naz Onel .

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Carbon sequestration

Processes (natural or deliberate) by which CO2 is either diverted from the sources of emission or eliminated from the atmosphere and collected in different natural environments, such as ocean, vegetation, sediment, and other geologic formations (USGS 2016).

Carbon trading

Buying and selling licenses by companies and governments to produce CO2.

Circular economy

System with the objective of reducing energy and material consumption in which the resource inputs and waste generated by production can be regenerated minimizing resource depletion through a system of multiple strategies for reutilization.

Conflict resources

Natural resources mined in a zone experiencing social or civil unrest where profits are used to support continued aggression.


An ethical and balanced attention to a problem, product, plan, or service.


Realistic; acceptable viable options.


Providing monetary support for a project, plan or product.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

A global independent nonprofit standards organization providing guidelines for reporting on corporate social responsibility aspects and performance (e.g., human rights, climate change, corruption).


The appearance of chemicals called halogens (e.g., bromine, chlorine, fluorine) in other substances, such as carbon, that have a long-term environmental impact due to their characteristic stable structure; highly restricted use in production, banned in most countries.


An entity (person or company) that owns a company stock share.


All those impacted by an organization’s activities including businesses, competitors, government, community members, environment, and others.

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Onel, N., Fiedler, B.A. (2018). Green Business: Not Just the Color of Money. In: Fiedler, B. (eds) Translating National Policy to Improve Environmental Conditions Impacting Public Health Through Community Planning. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-75360-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-75361-4

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