Stuart L. Hart
Strategies for Sustainable Value


Stuart L. Hart


I'm Stuart L. Hart, a leading authority on the implications of environment and poverty for business strategy. A few years ago, I defined the concept of sustainable value; my work includes over 70 academic papers and several books.

My blog: Voice of the Planet >>

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Beyond Stakeholder Primacy

My latest book, Beyond Shareholder Primacy: Remaking Capitalism for a Sustainable Future, published in 2024, is a call to consciousness―and action―for individuals, organizations, communities, and nations.

Capitalism at the CrossRoads

My best-selling book, Capitalism at the Crossroads, published in 2005, was selected by Cambridge University as one of the 50 top books on sustainability of all-time; the third edition of the book was published in 2010.

nextgen BoP

With Ted London, I'm the author of a newly released book entitled Next Generation Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid

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beyond greening

Beyond Greening: Strategies for a Sustainable World won the McKinsey Award for Best Article in the Harvard Business Review for 1997 and helped launch the movement for corporate sustainability.

fortune at the bottom of the pyramid

With C.K. Prahalad, I wrote the pathbreaking article: The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid which provided the first articulation of how business could profitably serve the needs of the four billion poor in the developing world.

The Great Leap: Driving Innovation from the Base of the Pyramid
By Stuart L. Hart and Clayton Christensen, Sloan Management Review

A Natural-Resource-Based View of the Firm
By Stuart L. Hart, Academy of Management Review

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Beyond Stakeholder Primacy

Available at: | Barnes & Noble

My latest book, Beyond Shareholder Primacy: Remaking Capitalism for a Sustainable Future, published in 2024, is a call to consciousness―and action―for individuals, organizations, communities, and nations.

Our current Milton Friedman–style "shareholder primacy capitalism," as taught in business schools and embraced around the world, has become dangerous for society, the climate, and the planet. It's economically unnecessary. But there are surprising reasons for hope―from the history of capitalism itself. Beyond Shareholder Primacy argues that capitalism has reformed itself twice before and is poised for a third major reformation. Retelling the origin story of capitalism from the fifteenth century to the present, I argue that a radically sustainable, just capitalism is possible, and even likely, in our lifetime.

What it will take to move beyond capitalism's present worship of "shareholder primacy"? How can we transform the corporation to re-embed purpose? How do we reform the major economic institutions?

A key requirement is eliminating the "externalities" (or collateral damage) of our current shareholder capitalism. Sustainable capitalism will explicitly incorporate the needs of society and the planet, include a financial system that allows leaders to prioritize the planet, reorganize business schools around sustainable management thinking, and enable corporations not just to stop ignoring the damage they cause, but actually begin to create positive impact.

"This book is a brilliant and critically needed masterpiece. Hart provides a sweeping and compelling case for why we must urgently reform our capitalist system, and offers a practical roadmap for how this transformation can proceed."

Paul A. Laudicina, Chairman Emeritus, A.T. Kearney; Founder, Global Business Policy Council

"We need a capitalist reformation. Shareholder primacy, the source code of capitalism, is a dead end. Stuart L. Hart shows us a path to upgrade the operating system of capitalism so that it is fit for a higher purpose than profit maximization."

Jay Coen Gilbert, Cofounder, B Corporation movement; Founding CEO, Imperative 21

"Hart's compelling analysis of capitalism's history shows us that the past forty years of shareholder primacy are an outlier. We can and must transform the way we do business to build companies which thrive by serving their many stakeholders - including planet Earth. This is capitalism for the billions, not just the billionaires."

Paul Polman, former CEO, Unilever; co-author of Net Positive

"This book is a call to action. It gives students and emerging leaders the blueprint they need to create a truly sustainable capitalism."

Karen Johns, CEO, Net Impact

"An extraordinary exploration of business thinking that goes beyond the boundaries of profit and purpose. Leaders now have a path to achieve social and environmental goals, in addition to financial success. A must-read for executives, entrepreneurs, and anyone passionate about building a better, more sustainable future."

Scott Tew, Vice President, Sustainability, Trane Technologies

Available at: | Barnes & Noble

Capitalism at the CrossRoads

Available at: | Barnes & Noble

My best-selling book, Capitalism at the Crossroads, published in 2005, was selected by Cambridge University as one of the 50 top books on sustainability of all-time; the third edition of the book was published in 2010. I present new strategies for identifying sustainable products, technologies, and business models that will drive urgently needed growth and help solve social and environmental problems at the same time. I also argue that corporations are the only entitites in the world today with the technology, resources, capacity, and global reach required.

"Capitalism at the Crossroads is built on strong theoretical underpinnings and illustrated with many practical examples. The author offers a pioneering roadmap to responsible macroeconomics and corporate growth."

Clayton Christensen, Professor of Business Administration,Harvard Business School and author of The Innovator's Dilemma

"I hope this book will be able to influence the thought processes of corporations and motivate them to adapt to forthcoming business realities for the sake of their own long-term existence. Besides business leaders, this is a thought-provoking book for the readers who are looking for solutions to capitalism’s problems."

Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank, and
2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient

"Capitalism at the Crossroads is a practical manifesto for business in the twenty-first century. Professor Stuart L. Hart provides a succinct framework for managers to harmonize concerns for the planet with wealth creation and unambiguously demonstrates the connection between the two. This book represents a turning point in the debate about the emerging role and responsibility of business in society."

C.K. Prahalad, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, co-author of Competing for the Future and author of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

"Stuart Hart was there at the beginning. Years ago when the term ‘sustainability’ had not yet reached the business schools, Stuart Hart stood as a beacon glowing in the umbrage. It is clear commerce is the engine of change, design the first signal of human intention, and global capitalism is at the crossroads. Stuart Hart is there again; this time lighting up the intersection."

William McDonough, University of Virginia, co-author of Cradle to Cradle

"Professor Hart is on the leading edge of making sustainability an understandable and useful framework for building business value. This book brings together much of his insights developed over the past decade. Through case studies and practical advice, he argues powerfully that unlimited opportunities for profitable business growth will flow to those companies that bring innovative technology and solutions to bear on some of the world’s most intractable social and environmental problems."

Chad Holliday, Chairman and CEO, DuPont

"Capitalism at the Crossroads clearly reveals the essence of what sustainability means to today’s business world. Hart’s analysis that businesses must increasingly adopt a business framework based on building sustainable value speaks to the entire sustainability movement’s relevance. Sustainability is more than today’s competitive edge; it is tomorrow’s model for success."

Don Pether, President and CEO, Dofasco Inc.

"Stuart Hart has written a book full of big insights painted with bold strokes. He may make you mad. He will certainly make you think."

Jonathan Lash, President, The World Resources Institute

"A must-read for every CEO—and every MBA."

John Elkington, Chairman, SustainAbility

"This book provides us with a vast array of innovative and practical ideas to accelerate the transformation to global sustainability and the role businesses and corporations will have to play therein. Stuart Hart manages to contribute in an essential way to the growing intellectual capital that addresses this topic. But, beyond that, the book will also prove to be a pioneer in the literature on corporate strategy by adding this new dimension to the current thinking."

Jan Oosterveld, Professor, IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain Member, Group Management Committee (Ret.), Royal Philips Electronics

"Capitalism at the Crossroads captures a disturbing and descriptive picture of the global condition. Dr. Hart constructs a compelling new corporate business model that simultaneously merges the metric of profitability along with societal value and environmental integrity. He challenges the corporate sector to take the lead and to invoke this change so that the benefits of capitalism can be shared with the entire human community worldwide."

Mac Bridger, CEO of Tandus Group

"Stuart L. Hart makes a very important contribution to the understanding of how enterprise can help save the world’s environment. Crucial reading."

Hernando de Soto, President of The Institute for Liberty and Democracy and author of The Mystery of Capital

"Stuart Hart’s insights into the business sense of sustainability come through compellingly in Capitalism at the Crossroads. Any businessperson interested in the long view will find resonance with his wise reasoning."

Ray Anderson, Founder and Chairman, Interface, Inc.

"This stimulating book documents the central role that business will play in humanity’s efforts to develop a sustainable global economy. Professor Hart presents an attractive vision of opportunity for those corporations that develop the new technologies, new business models, and new mental frames that are essential to a sustainable future."

Jeffrey Lehman, Former President of Cornell University

"The people of the world are in desperate need of new ideas if global industrial development is ever to result in something other than the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, with nature (and potentially all of us) suffering the collateral damage. Few have contributed more to meeting this need over the past decade than Stuart Hart by helping to illuminate the potential role for business and new thinking in business strategy in the journey ahead. Capitalism at the Crossroads challenges, provokes, and no doubt will stimulate many debates—which is exactly what is needed."

Peter Senge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chairperson of the Society for Organizational Learning, and author of The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organization

Available at: | Barnes & Noble


nextgen BoP

Available at: | Barnes & Noble

With Ted London, Hart is the author of a newly released book entitled Next Generation Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid.

During the last decade, first-generation BoP ventures focused primarily on selling existing goods to and sourcing familiar products from the world's four billion poorest people.  Many of these initiatives did not scale, and some failed outright.  But through that experience, crucial lessons have been learned.  Innovators are now succeeding--thanks to a more sophisticated and nuanced approach based on "creating a fortune with the BoP."

Readers will learn how to reconceptualize their opportunities, create sustainable business ecosystems, design new technologies with BoP in mind, and even transform entire sectors through collaborative entrepreneurship. From start to finish, this book shares proven, “on-the-ground” insights for building scalable, profitable businesses that are sustainable, and truly can help alleviate social ills.

"This  book  demonstrates  that the most socially useful business models to serve  the  base  of the pyramid are those which are created for the market  they  seek  to serve, incorporating appropriate green technologies and innovation-oriented  strategies  in  venture development. Such ventures can go on to achieve the higher purpose of BoP Businesses: Poverty Alleviation."

Ratan Tata
CEO Tata Industries

"Ted London’s and Stuart Hart’s insightful book explores with a fresh lens the challenges facing the economies and communities of the BoP, and offers long-term solutions based on joint value-creation rather than “fortune-seeking.” Today’s businesses must engage with these communities on a deeper level, to ensure equal understanding of the culture’s needs, how to educate BoP business owners, and to uncover ways to move forward — with sustainability as a top priority. This book makes an invaluable contribution to that end."

Fisk Johnson
CEO S.C. Johnson

"Anyone interested in the challenges and opportunities faced by the low income people must read this well-researched book.  At a time when intellectual discourse on this important topic is urgently needed, London’s and Hart’s book combines a wealth of experience in the corporate setting with a deep understanding of economics. Needless to say that we are in the midst of multiple global crises threatening the well-being of all. This book is an attempt to give capitalism new strategies for responding to those crises."

Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank, and
2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient

"CK Prahalad opened our eyes to the huge possibilities at the Base of the Pyramid.  This book confirms that the opportunities are greater than ever.  As such, it is a fitting tribute to his memory – as well as an essential read for anyone wishing to understand the real potential of the emerging world."

Paul Polman
Chief Executive, Unilever

"This honest and provocative book on new ways to understand and work with the base of the pyramid (BoP) is timely today, and will be an essential resource for years to come. Editors London and Hart, along with their accomplished co-authors, are the ideal scholars and practitioners to have undertaken this ambitious subject, bringing relevant theory to bear on real-world challenges. The BoP has become a laboratory for management innovation like no other in the world. As a result, the powerful ideas to be found in this book not only can increase the BoP entrepreneur’s chances for success, but can also help “top of the pyramid” enterprises — for-profit and nonprofit alike — achieve their goals."

Michael Hopkins
Editor of Sloan Management Revie

Available at: | Barnes & Noble

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