Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


The Future of Value

February 2012

The Future of Value is one of the best books ever written on CSR. In perhaps the most persuasive book-length argument yet for sustainability’s business case, Eric Lowitt’s brief guide to the financial value of corporate responsibility and how to harness it must surely become a classic for the industry.

The book is not long, but it manages to advise with precision and delicacy. Its guidance is concrete and its proofs invaluable for their empirical evidence.

Lowitt cuts to the chase and, avoiding all the usual empty generalisations and vague utopian talk so typical of CSR books, gets, as it were, straight down to business.

The Future of Value is perhaps a misleading title – Lowitt’s advice is firmly grounded in the present and immediate, showing how, as its subtitle promises, sustainability is already creating value through competitive differentiation.

The book takes the reader first through the evidence for this, then through how one might differentiate one’s own company – and, finally, it provides guidance on how to ‘stay sustainable’.

In terms of the core subject, sustainability strategy, the book is clear, substantial and probably indispensable. Its guides to embedding sustainability, analysing performance and communicating results are thick with pertinent examples and draw robust conclusions for immediate application.

Unusually, the book’s main drawback may be that it is not long enough. One is left curious as to Lowitt’s thoughts on other aspects of sustainability and CSR, and the work feels as though it may not be as comprehensive as it could be.

This is surely also a sign of its strength, however, and one hopes future writers will pick up where this excellent book leaves off.  

Ben Hickman

The Future of Value: How Sustainability Creates Value Through Competitive Differentiation, by Eric Lowitt.  Jossey-Bass, 2011. 248 pages. $32.95

Ben Hickman | UK & NI Ireland | CSR

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