In February and July 2017, BSR convened business leaders from global companies headquartered in the United States to explore the changing landscape for sustainable business and discuss potential company responses. The new landscape results from both underlying shifts in the economy, such as demographic change, automation, and new energy systems, and also from near-term political volatility, such as the new U.S. administration, the polarized political system, and the retreat into protectionism and economic nationalism taking place in many other countries.

During these discussions, participants raised four key perspectives about the role of sustainable business in the United States today:

  • Sustainability enhances competitiveness.
  • Business is staying the course on sustainability.
  • Business must demonstrate the relevance and benefits of sustainability to the public.
  • Sustainable business leaders can shape effective public policy frameworks.

The participants concluded that today’s unique political landscape presents a unique opportunity to redefine the future of sustainable business. This Playbook proposes a framework for sustainable business leaders to succeed in the current U.S. economic and political context—both as individual companies and in collaboration with each other and stakeholders.

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