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Alex Edmans on Rational Sustainability

In this episode of Leadership Conversations by TSB, Professor Alex Edmans discusses the concept of 'rational sustainability' - an evidence-based approach to sustainability that focuses on long-term value creation rather than politics or ideology.

He explains how boards should evaluate sustainability issues rationally, focusing on outcomes over labels, questioning assumptions, and recognising diminishing returns and trade-offs. Alex provides examples of how sustainability initiatives driven by a desire to serve society can also lead to long-term profits. He argues that rational sustainability allows companies to make decisions that serve both business and society.

Listen to the podcast here:

About Alex Edmans

Alex Edmans is Professor of Finance at London Business School. Alex has a PhD from MIT as a Fulbright Scholar, and was previously a tenured professor at Wharton and an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. 


Alex has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, testified in the UK Parliament, and given the TED talk What to Trust in a Post-Truth World and the TEDx talks The Pie-Growing Mindset and The Social Responsibility of Business with a combined 2.8 million views.

He serves as non-executive director of the Investor Forum, on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Responsible Investing, and on Royal London Asset Management’s Responsible Investment Advisory Committee. 


Alex’s book, Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit, was a Financial Times Book of the Year for 2020 and has been translated into nine languages, and he is a co-author of “Principles of Corporate Finance” (with Brealey, Myers, and Allen). He has won 25 teaching awards at Wharton and LBS and was named Professor of the Year by Poets & Quants in 2021. His latest book, May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases – And What We Can Do About It will be published by Penguin Random House in April 2024.

About 'Leadership Conversations by TSB'

The Sustainability Board (TSB) is an independent think tank. We believe that poor leadership is a systemic risk, and that business is a powerful vehicle for positive change. As such, we aim to advance sustainable practices in leadership and governance by providing research, thought leadership, intelligence, and education programmes.

Leadership Conversations is the podcast of TSB. In this interview series we interview global leaders who advocate for more positive societal impact and responsible business.

Leadership Conversations is hosted by Frederik Otto.


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