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The Best Books On Business Sustainability

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This article showcases our top picks for the Books On Business Sustainability. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below). We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.

Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough

This product was recommended by Derrick Hathaway from VEM-Medical

We’ve come a long way from a cradle to grave to a cradle to cradle economy and product design in this groundbreaking book. The transition from the take-make-dispose production model to the circular economy, in which businesses add value by reducing waste. The authors will take you on a trip, illustrating how this concept can generate real value by citing real-world examples of firms that have incorporated it into their business model. It offered a new perspective on environmentalism when it was first published and remains a must-read for anybody interested in building businesses that improve the earth for future generations.

Blue Economy 3.0 by Gunter Pauli

This product was recommended by Derrick Hathaway from VEM-Medical

The Blue Economy, 10 years – 100 innovations – 100 million jobs, can transform our society from scarcity to abundance by addressing the root causes of environmental problems in novel ways. It was widely agreed that this book was pivotal in shaping the ideas that would become The Circular Economy and future businesses. This book is an excellent resource for business owners who want to broaden their horizons by learning about the various Blue Economy business models that have been adopted around the world and their varying degrees of success.

Small Is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher

This product was recommended by Jeff Mains from Champion Leadership Group LLC

The world is changing so rapidly that it’s no longer an option to discuss the issue of whether or not to include sustainability in the business strategy. The term sustainability is used in the context of business to refer to the impact that establishments have on the environment as well as human communities. A sustainable business strategy aims to improve one or both of those areas, helping solve some of the world’s biggest problems. With that said, I will share one of the best books which can help business owners to deepen their understanding of business sustainability E.F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (1973) In his early moral anthem, Schumacher railed against gigantism, the cultural shift toward ever-larger markets, companies, and production levels. According to German economist and philosopher, solutions that harm society or the environment while supposedly fixing a problem are actually harmful. Instead, he pushes for a more empathetic brand of capitalism that uses environmentally friendly, labor-intensive appropriate technology on a smaller scale (as opposed to capital-intensive). This timeless work, which is now mostly discussed in the context of developing countries, merits new readers in executive offices across the United States. Schumacher strongly opposed casino capitalism and wasteful corporate behemoths, and he inspired movements like Buy Local and Fair Trade. One of the 100 Most Influential Books Since World War II, Small Is Beautiful makes a compelling case for reorienting our economies toward the needs of people and their communities rather than the demands of multinational corporations.

Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World by Jay Conrad Levinson and Shel Horowitz

This product was recommended by Shel Horowitz from Going Beyond Sustainability

An easy-to-read but comprehensive book on business success through addressing such problems as hunger, poverty, racism/othering, war, and catastrophic climate change. Shows why building environmental and social good directly into core products and services is a recipe for a strong, healthy business that has many market and operational advantages.

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

This product was recommended by Nickie Cobble from YourOutsourceAid

The E-Myth Revisited is an easy read that guides small business owners on how to not only correct their structural mistakes in order to scale, but on how to set up the necessary processes to allow their business to run without them; thus, making their organization more sustainable, enjoyable, and, most importantly, profitable.

The Sustainability Scorecard by Urvashi Bhatnagar

This product was recommended by Chris Baker from Smith Publicity

Using a rigorous, straightforward scorecard as a guide, this book shows business leaders and innovators how to create breakthrough sustainable products and processes that are good for the planet, human health, and profits. Natural resource inputs to business operations are getting scarcer and more expensive, while climate-change-related economic shocks pose a risk to seamless operations and, more importantly, threaten business continuity. How can organizations integrate sustainable design in their overarching operations and align it with profitability and corporate strategy? Based on Paul Anastas’s foundational Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry, the Sustainability Scorecard is the first scientifically rooted, data-driven methodology for creating inherently sustainable and profitable products and processes. By redesigning with sustainability as a key design element, firms open themselves to unexpected solutions, leapfrog innovations, and sources of value that simply don’t occur when sustainability is leveraged purely as a risk-avoidance and compliance measure. Urvashi Bhatnagar and Anastas offer dozens of examples of how sustainable operations can yield benefits such as expanding market share, creating new service lines, and transforming supply-chain and sourcing models to drive the most consistent and highest long-term value. With this comprehensive framework, your firm will be able to identify truly innovative, inherently sustainable products as opposed to “less bad” products and processes that don’t provide the exponential value that only breakthrough products can.

Green Giants by E. Freya Williams

This product was recommended by Ian Wright from BusinessFinancing

Green Giants by Freya Williams is a superb book on business sustainability. It is a must read for anyone who wants to understand why businesses that take sustainability seriously are succeeding in this current climate. It talks not only about the importance of sustainability in terms of business success, but also provides real-world examples across different industries. Green Giants explains how companies can innovate and create values by taking responsibility for their impact on society, environment and business itself. Whether you are a business professional or a student, Green Giants will be an invaluable resource in helping you understand the importance of sustainability and how it can help companies achieve success.

Strategy For Sustainability by Adam Werbach

This product was recommended by Granger McCollough from Elite Patio Direct

Because it is widely accepted as the definitive guide to business sustainability in an ever-evolving and volatile world, that was written by the foremost expert on the subject, Adam Werbach. And if I was going to entrust the future of my business to a set methodology and ideology, I’d want them to have been created by someone with a proven track record in the field, who actually knows what he’s talking about. Which in this case, is Adam Werbach.

The Sustainable Business Handbook by David Grayson

This product was recommended by Charles Cridland from YourParkingSpace

The Sustainable Business Handbook is a guidebook for businesses on how to become better, more resilient, and successful through the integration of sustainability. It is filled with practical advice and proven case studies. The authors describe 20 tips for business transformation based on the experience of organizations that have successfully embraced sustainability. If your company is beginning its journey, this book will be the perfect tool for a deep understanding of the familiar yet poorly understood topic of sustainability. The businesses that want to survive and, most importantly, become or stay successful need to catch up with it right now if they haven’t already. This book provides excellent motivation for turning your interest in being a responsible business into action.

Sustainable Leadership by Clarke Murphy

This product was recommended by Ivo Iv from Decor Home Ideas

Clarke Murphy believes that business executives have the power to change our world for the better, and I couldn’t agree more. His sustainability journey began after a near-death experience while crossing the Atlantic when his boat almost hit a huge container that was dropped from a cargo ship. It was a moment of awakening and realization that what matters the most is the planet and people, not just profits. I was very excited to read this book about sustainable leadership and wasn’t disappointed. While exploring the real stories of inspiring leaders, Clarke Murphy, again and again, proves that every business can become sustainable and, as a result, more successful in the long term and gives advice on immediately actionable approaches. I loved the concept of sustainable legacy and the step-by-step framework for building it. Highly recommend checking out this book.

Productize by Eisha Armstrong

This product was recommended by Nathan Brunner from Salarship

Productize is an invaluable guidebook on how to shift from a professional business model to a scalable product model. Having more than 25 years of experience, Eisha Armstrong knows what works and what doesn’t. She does an amazing job at pointing out our mistakes and then suggests ways to overcome the barriers. The book features real-life case studies and stories of successful professional service leaders who managed to create more scalable products and services. It’s a how-to manual for turning your ideas into a successful reality. Eisha shared a lot of valuable insight and relatable examples, and I deeply resonate with the human-centered approach described by the author. The book is very well-written and easy to follow. Highly recommend reading it to everyone who wants to shift and become more innovative and productize.

Flexible Working by Gemma Dale

This product was recommended by Nate Martin from Puzzle Break

Flexible working is always on an employee’s mind. This book is a practical guide for developing flexible, effective working strategies to meet the needs of employees and the business. Classical 9-5 five days a week at the office isn’t for everyone, and changing the pattern might be more beneficial. The book includes practical examples, useful templates, and case studies from various organizations, for example, Zurich Insurance, and explains the factors which affect employee engagement and performance. It offers easily implemented interventions for overcoming the barriers we face the most and gives clear explanations on developing effective flexibility policies and processes. This book makes you rethink how and where you work. It’s a must-read for businesses of all sizes.

The Triple Bottom line by Andrew W. Savitz

This product was recommended by Jennie Miller from Midss

The Triple Bottom Line, also known as People, Planet and profit includes not only the economic bottom line but also the environmental and social bottom lines. If you are new to sustainable business, this is a great primer for explaining the triple bottom line and providing examples of companies that have used it.

The Ecology of Commerce By Paul Hawken

This product was recommended by Hilda Wong from Content Dog

This book is a reminder that you can’t jeopardize the environment for your profit generation. The climate risks are devastating, and it’s getting worse every year. This is the ultimate wake-up call for businesses to remodel their strategies and bring the focus towards the environment over the years. There are several methods and operations that can be more compatible with our natural systems, and this book shares some great opportunities to make your business environment-friendly and contribute positively to the climate and society.

Can Business Save the Earth? By Michael Lenox

This product was recommended by Chris Pitt from Hairbro UK

Michael Lenox and Aaron Chatterji explain how the private sector can help in Can Business Save the Earth? Many people believe that markets will compel sustainable practices to emerge. Lenox and Chatterji, on the other hand, have a different perspective. They argue that a bright green future is only possible with dramatic innovation across multiple sectors at the same time. Their work is based on more than a decade of research and work with companies.

Mainstreaming Corporate Sustainability by Suzanne Farver

This product was recommended by Serdar Ozenalp from Ocoza

Farver teaches Corporate Sustainability Strategy at Harvard University Extension School, and has used this book as the cornerstone for her course that she co-created in 2010. In it, she gives a practical approach for current and future business leaders on ways to adapt sustainability standards within their company. This updated version includes more resources and underscores the growing significance of climate change and how companies can lessen their carbon footprint. This is a must-read for anyone who needs guidance for implementing sustainability within their organization.

Green to Gold by Daniel C. Esty

This product was recommended by Matt Wilson from Lift Your Game

I recommend reading Green to Gold by Daniel Esty and Andrew Winston. In this book, the authors describe how businesses can simultaneously become more sustainable and profitable. They also provide a wealth of statistics and case studies to show readers how they can implement these changes within their companies. Sustainability is a crucial topic for businesses, and this book is the perfect resource to navigate the complexities of creating a more environmentally-friendly business model.

The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones

This product was recommended by David Zhang from Kate Backdrop

This book is an excellent introduction to green-collar jobs and how improving our current economic systems can help with environmental issues. Van Jones does an excellent job explaining why sustainability is essential for business and society. You’ll find the book filled with examples of progressive and successful companies making a positive impact on their communities and our planet.

Buy Then Build by Walker Deibel

This product was recommended by April Maccario from Ask April

Buy Then Build by Walker Deibel – is a highly informative book, especially for startups who want to learn sustainable techniques during the early age of their business journey. It offers an innovative framework that focuses on entrepreneurship through acquisition. From management skills to various utilization of cash flow, this book is indeed, a game changer.

Purpose and Profit by George Serafeim

This product was recommended by April Maccario from Ask April

Purpose and Profit: How Business Can Lift Up the World by George Serafeim – a book that discusses the correlation between social goals and profit. It focuses on impact investing and how it becomes a vital aspect of the enormous reservoir of potential opportunity in the near future. This book can help entrepreneurs better understand the mystery behind the evolving role of purpose, sustainability, and the impact of our choices on our personal lives and the world.

Grow the Pie by Alex Edmans

This product was recommended by April Maccario from Ask April

Grow the Pie by Alex Edmans – a book that highlights the value of rigorous research to influence the practice in business. This provides plenty of evidence-based analysis on how visionary leaders can expand the whole ‘pie’ in pursuit of purpose and profit. An eye-opener that can help readers build a ‘pie-growing’ mentality amidst this over-complicated and competitive business environment.

Doughnut Economics By Kate Raworth

This product was recommended by Samantha Moss from Romantific

Raworth will help you rethink your ways and help you see the world through social and environmental eyes. The writer calls for a new economic model as she pushes for an environmental solution for companies to follow. One that will not destroy the planet and move towards a more regenerative economic model.

Sustainability by Scott T. Young

This product was recommended by Sonya Schwartz from Her Norm

Beginners, whether students or business owners are strongly advised to read this book. It provides a thorough explanation of how environmental science and the corporate world are related. Here, we’re talking about a company’s triple bottom line, which includes its natural capital, human capital, and financial capital. Additionally, it addresses contentious issues, particularly those related to business and various business functions.

Core The Playbook by Neil Gaught

This product was recommended by Sean Tolliver from C-Trax

Every market is changing rapidly. As consumer demands evolve over the months, businesses need to adapt at the same speed or even faster. This is where most businesses lose out and tend to shut down in the long run. The strategy to adopt is vast. It starts from identifying the purpose of each of your business functions to measuring it regularly to analyze the progress. This book sheds light on how you can actively improve your strategy and make your business socially sustainable to thrive in the changing business scenario.

Net Positive by Paul Polman

This product was recommended by Sean Tolliver from C-Trax

Every successful business gives mor to society than it takes. This is the ultimate strategy that brings the ongoing revenue flow for companies over the years. This book discusses the importance of giving instead of taking and also shares effective strategies to create a net positive company and succeed in the market.

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