The Three Levels of Sustainability

Elena Cavagnaro, George H. Curiel

Research output: Book/ReportBookProfessional

2 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the complexity of sustainability is crucial for the leadership of business organizations, national governments, and non-governmental organizations. This second edition of the bestselling book The Three Levels of Sustainability uses the same interdependent three-level and three-dimensional framework as the first edition, encompassing societal, organizational, and individual levels, to clearly demonstrate what sustainability means and how to implement it. This new edition incorporates important developments in reporting and measuring, corporate behaviors, the impact of COVID-19, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

More and more societies are becoming aware of their dependence on earth’s resources. However, there is still a deep-rooted lack of awareness of the connection between society’s ambitions for economic growth, earth’s limitations, and unequal distribution of wealth. Prominent institutions and organizations and their leaders rely on the conformable belief that "more quantity" equals "more quality" and that "more growth" equals "more development". Although some progress has been made since the publication of the first edition, the world is increasingly characterized by division, rising dissatisfaction, and growing inequality between countries, communities, and people. At the same time, it is anticipated that global warming will reach a point of no return between 2030 and 2052. The fundamental paradigm shift in the way the development process must be navigated is better served by a holistic and inclusive, multilevel and multidimensional approach meant to gradually align the critical institutional and individual factors essential to the pathway toward sustainable development.

The book has been established as an excellent primer to explain the complex issues around sustainability for postgraduate and undergraduate students, as well as busy professionals and those already in management and leadership positions in the private, public, or non-profit sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages352
ISBN (Electronic)9781000626346
ISBN (Print)9780367726256
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jan-2022


  • Sustainable Society
  • Sustainable organisation
  • Leadership for sustainability
  • Historic development of sustainability


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