Did your New Year’s resolution include spending less time on-screen and more time curled up with a good book or audiobook? We are a few months into the year now but good news, you still have plenty of time to reach your goal… and even learn while you do it!  

We asked our experts as well as polled Antea Group clients and friends about their favorite books on the topics of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), and sustainability. Although you can argue that sustainability fits within ESG, we wanted our selection of books to go beyond sustainability into broader social and corporate governance considerations for businesses. 

We have rounded up the responses and curated this short top ten list of educational, impactful, and eye-opening must-reads: 

The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability – Designing for Abundance 

Authors: William McDonough and Michael Braungart 

From the Back Cover: The Upcycle is the follow-up to Cradle to Cradle. “Now, drawing on the lessons gained from 10 years of putting the cradle-to-cradle concept into practice with businesses, governments, and ordinary people, William McDonough and Michael Braungart envision the next step in the solution to our ecological crisis: We don't just reuse resources with greater effectiveness, we actually improve them as we use them. For McDonough and Braungart, the questions of resource scarcity and sustainability are questions of design. They envision beneficial designs of products, buildings, and business practices - and they show us these ideas being put to use around the world as everyday objects like chairs, cars, and factories are being reinvented not just to sustain life on the planet but to grow it.” 

Publisher: North Point Press 

Where to Find It: Bookshop.org | Amazon 

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and The Breakthroughs We Need 

Author: Bill Gates  

From the Back Cover: “Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide to certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal.” 

Publisher: Knopf 

Where to Find It: Bookshop.org | Amazon 

Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take 

Authors: Paul Polman and Andrew Winston 

From the Back Cover: “The ex-Unilever CEO who increased his shareholders' returns by 300% while ensuring the company ranked #1 in the world for sustainability for eleven years running has, for the first time, revealed how to do it. Teaming up with Andrew Winston, one of the world's most authoritative voices on corporate sustainability, Paul Polman shows business leaders how to take on humanity's greatest and most urgent challenges—climate change and inequality—and build a thriving business as a result.” 

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press 

Where to Find It: Bookshop.org | Amazon 

How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos 

Author: David Pogue 

From the Back Cover: “A practical and comprehensive guide to surviving the greatest disaster of our time, from New York Times bestselling self-help author and beloved CBS Sunday Morning science and technology correspondent David Pogue.” 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 

Where to Find It: Bookshop.org | Amazon 

How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything (2020 Update) 

Author: Mike Berners-Lee 

From the Back Cover: “Part green-lifestyle guide, part popular science, How Bad Are Bananas? is the first book to provide the information we need to make carbon-savvy purchases and informed lifestyle choices, and to build carbon considerations into our everyday thinking. It also helps put our decisions into perspective with entries for the big things (the World Cup, volcanic eruptions, and the Iraq war) as well as the small (email, ironing a shirt, a glass of beer). And it covers the range from birth (the carbon footprint of having a child) to death (the carbon impact of cremation). Packed full of surprises-a plastic bag has the smallest footprint of any item listed, while a block of cheese is bad news-the book continuously informs, delights, and engages the reader.” 

Publisher: Greystone Books 

Where to Find It: Bookshop.org | Amazon 

The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Business Will Win 

Author: Jeffrey Hollender and Bill Breen 

From the Back Cover: “How to create a company that not only sustains, but surpasses-that moves beyond the imperative to be less bad and embrace an ethos to be all good. From the Inspired Protagonist and Chairman of Seventh Generation, the country's leading brand of household products and a pioneering good company, comes a one-of-a-kind book for leaders, entrepreneurs, and change agents everywhere. The Responsibility Revolution reveals the smartest ways for companies to build a better future-and hold themselves accountable for the results. Thousands of companies have pledged to act responsibly; very few have proven that they know how. This book will guide them. The Responsibility Revolution presents fresh ideas and actionable strategies to commit your company to a genuine socially and environmentally responsible business and culture, one that not only competes but wins on values.” 

Publisher: Jossey-Bass 

Where to Find It: Bookshop.org | Amazon 

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist 

Author: Kate Raworth 

From the Back Cover: “In Doughnut Economics, Kate Raworth sets out seven key ways to fundamentally reframe our understanding of what economics is and does. Along the way, she points out how we can break our addiction to growth; redesign money, finance, and business to be in service to people; and create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design. Named after the now-iconic “doughnut” image that Raworth first drew to depict a sweet spot of human prosperity (an image that appealed to the Occupy Movement, the United Nations, eco-activists, and business leaders alike), Doughnut Economics offers a radically new compass for guiding global development, government policy, and corporate strategy, and sets new standards for what economic success looks like.”  

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company 

Where to Find It: Bookshop.org | Amazon 

Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit  

Author: Alex Edmans 

From the Back Cover: “What is a responsible business? Common wisdom is that it's one that sacrifices profit for social outcomes. But while it's crucial for companies to serve society, they also have a duty to generate profit for investors - savers, retirees, and pension funds. Based on the highest-quality evidence and real-life examples spanning industries and countries, Alex Edmans shows that it's not an either-or choice - companies can create both profit and social value. The most successful companies don't target profit directly, but are driven by purpose - the desire to serve a societal need and contribute to human betterment. The book explains how to embed purpose into practice so that it's more than just a mission statement, and discusses the critical role of working collaboratively with a company's investors, employees, and customers. Rigorous research also uncovers surprising results on how executive pay, shareholder activism, and share buybacks can be used for the common good.” 

Publisher: Cambridge University Press 

Where to Find It: Bookshop.org | Amazon 

The Truth About Green Business 

Author: Gil Friend 

From the Back Cover: “Everything you need to know to green your business and grow your profit. The truth about what climate change means for your business. The truth about running lean and green. The truth about future-proofing your business. Simply the best thinking. The truth and nothing but the truth. This book reveals 52 proven green strategies and bite-size, easy-to-use techniques that get results.” 

Publisher: Que 

Where to Find It: Barnes & Noble | Amazon  

Rebuilding Earth: Designing Ecoconscious Habitats for Humans 

Author: Teresa Coady 

From the Back Cover: “It is estimated that the earth's population will expand to an unprecedented nine billion people over the next century. This explosion in population is predicted to place further stress on our environment, deplete our natural resources, and lead to increases in anxiety and depression due to overcrowding. In this visionary and uplifting book, Teresa Coady offers readers new hope. Rebuilding Earth is her blueprint for designing and building the cities, buildings, and homes of tomorrow, resulting in more conscious, sustainable, and humane living. Coady shows us how we can shift from an outdated Industrial-Age framework to a more humane, Digital-Age framework. This revolutionary approach will enable communities to harness various forms of green energy and reduce the amount of material needed to build infrastructure while contributing to a healthier planet (and society). We can then experience a new sense of purpose, health, and happiness. Meaningful and lasting change, the author tells us, can only come through designing interconnected communities that are vibrant, resilient, and communal. Unlike most predictions of doom and gloom, Coady presents a refreshingly optimistic view of humanity and its future. This book will appeal to those in the construction, design and development finance industries, as well as anyone interested in improving their lives through understanding the connections between the environment and health.” 

Publisher: North Atlantic Books 

Where to Find It: Bookshop.org | Amazon 

Looking for more learning opportunities? Check out our recent blogs: EHS & Sustainability Conferences You Don’t Want to Miss in 2022, Top EHS & Sustainability Social Media Accounts to Follow in 2022, and The 10 Best Sustainability Podcasts for Environmental Business Leaders. 

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