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5 ways to build a sustainability-focused work culture that aligns with employee values

 by Jan 6, 2022, 2:03 PM

To build a company culture around sustainability, leaders must create a purpose-driven organization where employees can find meaning in their work.

Jeana Wirtenberg, an associate professor at Rutgers Business School, associate director of the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation, and the CEO of Transitioning to Green, said a marker of business success is being able to converge company growth with service to the environment.

Insider spoke with Wirtenberg and Kloberdanz about five ways leaders can develop sustainable values across their organization.

Accelerating HR’s Role in CSR and Sustainability

 by Pamela Babcock  10/29/2015

NEW YORK CITY—HR professionals need to be more involved in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability initiatives, but are often left out of the picture. People specializing in these fields should partner with HR to make the most of such programs, and HR should step up its game to get involved, speakers said at the Commit!Forum. The annual event attracts executives to discuss CSR.
“If the goal is to get every employee considering sustainability or corporate social responsibility across every business function, the HR function plays such a key role,”   Read more. 

“Triple Bottom Line: Creating 3.0 Leaders for the 21st Century”

An article in “Leadership Excellence” by Dr. Jeana Wirtenberg

Sustainability and the green economy present great challenges and opportunities—and sustainable leadership is what will turn the tide. We must bring about sustainable business models that enable companies, people, and our planet to flourish and thrive now and in the future. How do we do this?

Harmon, J., Fairfield, K. & Wirtenberg, J. (2010) “Missing an Opportunity: HR Leadership and Sustainability“, HR People and Strategy. Vol. 33, No. 1, 16-21.


Wyndham Worldwide’s green governance
By Jeana Wirtenberg
Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dr. Jeana Wirtenberg, nationally recognized expert in organizational change, shares the fourth of four exclusive excerpts adapted from her new book Building a Culture for Sustainability. At Wyndham Worldwide, sustainability has a governance structure that is unique in three distinct ways: Wyndham Green, Wyndham Green Council, and alignment of Wyndham’s human resources and corporate services. Read article.

Sustaining profits: Going green can improve the bottom line, even for small businesses
​By Brett Johnson NJ BIZ September 8, 2014

Transitioning to Green CEO Jeana Wirtenberg: “95 percent of sustainable projects are either cost-neutral or positive.”

Small business owners have offered sustainability gurus every excuse in the book. Their plans for eco-friendly infrastructure reforms were shelved because they were a resource drain … their 200-page-long PowerPoint presentation about energy efficiency was disregarded because, well, it’s 200 pages … they can’t even think about going green because it takes too much green. Read article.

Women in CSR: Dr. Jeana Wirtenberg, Transitioning to Green – Triple Pundit

Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit ⋅ Andrea Newell

Dr. Jeana Wirtenberg, PhD, CEO, Transitioning to Green, talks about her career, inspiration and recent accomplishments in our Women in CSR series.

An article by Jeana Wirtenberg introducing the concept of Leadership Development 3.0: Triple Bottom Line Leadership for the 21st Century, which appears in the June 2012 issue of Leadership Excellence: “Triple-Bottom-Line: This is Leadership Development 3.0″ in Leadership Excellence, June 2012.


Vickers, M., J. Wirtenberg, J. Harmon, A. Lindberg,, J. M. Lee, and D. J. Dennis (2007).
Creating a Sustainable Future: A global study of current trends and possibilities 2007–2017.
New York: American Management Association.

September 11, 2007 AMA Presentation, “Sustainability: An Evolving Business Paradigm
PDF of slide presentation

SHRM Foundation’s Effective Practice Guidelines Series -“HRM’s Role in Corporate Social and Environmental Sustainability.

Book Chapters

Wirtenberg, J., 2011. Sustainable Enterprise for the 21st Century. Chapter 4, Volume I (of 3 Volumes) S.G. McNall, J.C. Hershauer and G. Basile, (Editors), “The Business of Sustainability: Trends, Policies, Practices and Stories of Success”, Santa Barbara, Ca: ABC-CLIO, 76-88

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Guest Blogs

How Big Business Can Help Small Business Become More Sustainable
A Virtuous Cycle with Benefits for All
By Jeana Wirtenberg

In this guest blog by Jeana Wirtenberg, Ph.D., she discusses her latest book, and her role at the upcoming Verizon Sustainability Summit. She is the co-founder and senior adviser at the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise.
Why would giant global businesses like Verizon, Alcoa, Sanofi, and Wyndham Worldwide invest their valuable time and money to support small businesses in becoming more sustainable? I say, “Why wouldn’t they?” Read more.