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Guidelines for Contributors

NBS translates the world’s best academic research into practical resources to help managers make their organizations more sustainable.

We aim to be the “Harvard Business Review” of sustainability. To best serve our readers, NBS reserves the write to edit all contributions for length, word choice, grammar and tone.

Here, we cover:

  • General Writing Guidelines

  • Topic Blogs

  • Thought Leader Blogs

General Writing Guidelines

Use lay language

  • Avoid jargon.

  • Use the simplest word available. E.g. “Use” rather than “utilize.” “Invite” rather than “extend an invitation to.”

  • Be as specific as possible and provide real-life examples.

For example, replace this:

“Various direct and indirect communication vehicles exist to strengthen stakeholder engagement.”

With this:

“Strengthen relationships with customers by hosting factory tours or inviting them to participate in your next environmental audit.”

Use active voice

For example, replace this:

“Companies affected by shareholder resolutions related to the environment are perceived as risky investments.”

With this:

“Analysts perceive companies as risky investments when shareholders mount environmental resolutions.”

Make your writing “scan-able.”

  • Break your article up using bullets, lists and key takeaways.

  • Include subheads before major thoughts.

  • Suggest graphics or images that convey the content visually. These graphics could include mathematical formulas, pie charts, photographs, flow charts, decision trees, etc.


Include links to relevant resources to make your article more compelling and persuasive.

  • Include links to leading business and news publications such as the Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. You may also include links to CSR publications such as Environmental Leader or GreenBiz.com

  • Include links to the companies, product lines or sustainability programs being featured.

  • Include links to CSR resources that may be of interest to NBS readers. E.g. The KLD Social Index or INSEAD.


Because we value credibility, we encourage contributors to cite their sources whenever possible.

Topic Blogs

Topic blogs are first-person articles written by academics on sustainability issues that matter to managers. The best blogs are short, opinionated and address a single concept.

Word Count: Approx. 700-1000 words

Blog best practices:

  • Describe an important new finding and its implications for managers.

  • Offer advice, based on your interactions with companies.

  • Challenge managers to make a specific change in their organizations.

  • Ask provocative questions.

Thought Leader Blogs

In these forward-looking blog posts, leading academics and industry visionaries describe their visions of sustainable business models for the 21st century. They identify existing barriers, coming challenges, emerging opportunities, and the actions we need to take now.

Thought Leadership contributors should focus on “big ideas” – major movements and key issues appearing on the horizon. For example, Gerald Davis’s post Buying Furniture on iTunes: Creative Destruction in a World of Locavore Production talks about how new technology is redefining the way goods are manufactured in the near future.

Word Count: Approx. 700-1000 words

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