Can Business Save the Earth? Innovating Our Way to Sustainability

Michael Lenox and Ronnie Chatterji
Published by Stanford University Press
Available May 22, 2018

Order now at:

This marvelous book unites rigorous research with in-depth examples to show how business really might be able to save the earth. It’s the perfect answer to the question my students ask me all the time: How can I make a difference?” (Rebecca M. Henderson Harvard Business School)

Increasingly, business leaders are tasked with developing new products, services, and business models that minimize environmental impact while driving economic growth. It’s a tall order―and a call that is only getting louder.

In Can Business Save the Earth?, Michael Lenox and Aaron Chatterji explain just how the private sector can help. Many believe that markets will inevitably demand sustainable practices and force them to emerge. But Lenox and Chatterji see it differently. Based on more than a decade of research and work with companies, they argue that a bright green future is only possible with dramatic innovation across multiple sectors at the same time.

To achieve this, a broader ecosystem of players―including inventors, executives, customers, investors, activists, and governments―all must play a role. The book outlines how and the extent to which each group can serve as a driver of green growth. Then, Lenox and Chatterji identify where economic incentives currently exist, or could exist with institutional change, and ultimately address the larger question of how far well-coordinated efforts can take us in addressing the current environmental crisis.


  1. Business as Savior
  2. Innovator as Genius
  3. Manager as Hero
  4. Investor as Visionary
  5. Customer as King
  6. System as Catalyst