Sustainability Handbook: The Complete Management Guide to Achieving Social, Economic, and Environmental Responsibility, The

The Sustainability Handbook
William R. Blackburn
Release Date

Out of print


This edition is out of print. Please refer to the second edition.

The Sustainability Handbook: The Complete Management Guide to Achieving Social, Economic, and Environmental Responsibility covers the complexities, challenges and benefits of sustainability as it is pursued by corporate, academic, government and non-profit organizations. It provides a blueprint on how organizations of all sizes can reach or exceed economic, social and environmental excellence. The handbook offers a wide variety of practical approaches and tools, including:

  • A model sustainability policy for organizations;
  • Summaries of sustainability codes and tips on how to select them;
  • Practical guidance on structuring the organization for sustainability and gaining support from management;
  • Overview of key sustainability trends and suggestions on how to use them in strategic planning; and
  • Extensive collection of sample metrics.

William Blackburn has worked in the area of corporate sustainability for several decades and is a popular lecturer on the topic. He successfully led sustainability initiatives within a major global corporation and continues to provide guidance on the topic to companies, universities, governments, standards bodies and non-profit firms around the world.

About the Author

For over 30 years, William R. Blackburn has been involved with the management of global programs on environment, health, and safety (EHS) as well as on programs on sustainability as that concept has emerged. He is a frequent lecturer around the world on these topics.

Until 2003, Blackburn was vice president and chief counsel of Corporate Environment, Health, and Safety at Baxter International Inc., a global manufacturer and distributor of medical products based in Deerfield, Illinois. As a sustainability leader at Baxter, Blackburn led efforts pioneering effective sustainability performance metrics; transparent sustainability reports; innovative management standards; unique environmental cost and income statements; and sound emergency response programs. Baxter’s operations received over 300 external awards for EHS excellence while Blackburn guided the company’s program. Prior to joining Baxter in 1978, Blackburn was employed as the general counsel at Clinton Bogert Associates, an environmental engineering firm based in New Jersey.

Today, Blackburn continues his work on EHS and sustainability issues as the president of a consulting firm, William Blackburn Consulting, Ltd. His firm advises organizations on the performance, structure, strategy, planning, and development of programs related to sustainability, EHS, and crisis management/emergency response. His clients include: large, small, and struggling companies; nonprofit organizations; local governments; trade and professional associations; and multi-stakeholder coalitions.

In 1973, Blackburn received his J.D. in law from the University of Iowa and three years prior, in 1970, he received a B.S. in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University. He received law licenses in the District of Columbia, Illinois, and New Jersey and a professional engineers’ license in New Jersey.

Blackburn serves as: a member of the management team of the Stakeholder Council, Global Reporting Initiative; an expert delegate on the Working Group on the Guidance on Social Responsibility of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 26000); a vice chair of the American Bar Association’s Subcommittee on Sustainable Development within the Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources; and a member of the board of advisors for the Environmental Management Program and Center for Sustainable Enterprise, Stuart Graduate School of Business, Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a former chairman of the Chief EHS Officers Council of The Conference Board, a U.S. business association.

For more information on Blackburn and his firm, visit his website at, where a detailed table of contents for the book and a model syllabus for a college-level course can be found. Alternatively, contact him at