Small Actions Big Difference

Everywhere we turn, we hear the word ‘sustainability.’ But what are companies actually doing? CB Bhattacharya’s honest and bracing answer is simple: Not enough. But in this smart, actionable book, he shows how companies can change their ways. By making sustainability central to your purpose he says, you can improve the health of communities and the planetand build a better, more profitable business. SMALL ACTIONS, BIG DIFFERENCE belongs on every leader’s bookshelf.

—Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of WHEN and DRIVE


Despite dire warnings about global warming, carbon emissions by the world’s largest companies are increasing and only a few companies have strategies for managing carbon emissions and water resources.

So what separates the best from the rest? In one word, the answer is ownership: companies that are winning at sustainability have created the conditions for their stakeholders to own sustainability and reap the benefits that come with deeper experience with and ownership of social and environmental issues: a happier, more productive workforce, increased customer loyalty, higher stock valuations, and greater long-term profits.

Based on interviews with 25 global multinational corporations as well as employees, middle managers, and senior leaders across multiple sectors, this is the first book to connect sustainability to the theory and principles of psychological ownership and to propose a succinct, easy-to-digest model for managerial use.

CB’s Three-Phase Path to Sustainability Ownership


Phase One

Develop the domain of sustainability you want to own by marking the contours of your company's specific purpose in the world. Then set measurable goals.

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Phase Two

Entice and enable stakeholders to take ownership of your plan by giving them the opportunity to participate in, understand, and identify with sustainability.

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Phase Three

Maintain sustainability's momentum and integrity by demystifying stakeholders' contributions, and enlivening and expanding the ownership experience.

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Paul Polman, CEO Unilever

CB Bhattacharya’s book ‘Small Actions, Big Difference’ is a powerful rallying cry for business to take full ownership of delivering sustainable and equitable growth. For too long business has sat on the sidelines, either unable or unwilling to be part of the solution to our systemic environmental and social challenges. But as this book argues, business must re-double its efforts through new thinking and a values-based approach that puts people and the planet first.

Jeffrey Sachs, New York Times Bestselling Author, University Professor, Columbia University

When the world finally makes the turn to sustainable development, it will have been pioneers such as Professor CB Bhattacharya who will have made the difference. Professor Bhattacharya has long understood that sustainable development – combining economic progress with social inclusion and environmental sustainability – is not a gimmick or a pleasantry, but a vital need for the planet and therefore for each of us. He continues his great efforts in this new and important book, a very wise and clearly written guidebook to sustainability for business leaders.

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