Have you always wanted to spend less time on-screen and more time curled up with a good book or audiobook? Well, we have good news, because we’re here to help you reach your reading goals… 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 to explore 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-read books: 

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. Remaking the Way We Make Things. “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 Sustainability Scorecard: How to Implement and Profit from Unexpected Solutions

Author: Urvashi Bhatnagar and Paul Anastas 

From the Back Cover: “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. 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.” 

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers 

Where to Find It: Bookshop.org | Amazon 

Sustainability Is the New Advantage: Leadership, Change, and the Future of Business 

Author: Peter McAteer 

From the Back Cover: “During the last 150 years, we have stressed the oceans, warmed the planet and overextended almost every natural resource. To create real change will require a generation of leaders and businesses that think and act differently. Sustainability Is the New Advantage identifies the skill sets, best practices, and new ideas needed to teach a new generation to start, grow, and manage sustainable organizations.”  

Publisher: Anthem Press

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 Climate Book: The Facts and the Solutions 

Author: Greta Thunberg

From the Back Cover: “In The Climate Book, Greta Thunberg has gathered the wisdom of over one hundred experts - geophysicists, oceanographers and meteorologists; engineers, economists and mathematicians; historians, philosophers and indigenous leaders - to equip us all with the knowledge we need to combat climate disaster. Alongside them, she shares her own stories of demonstrating and uncovering greenwashing around the world, revealing how much we have been kept in the dark. This is one of our biggest challenges, she shows, but also our greatest source of hope. Once we are given the full picture, how can we not act? And if a schoolchild's strike could ignite a global protest, what could we do collectively if we tried?” 

Publisher:Penguin Random House 

Where to Find It: Bookshop.org | 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: Stay On Top of Energy Transition With These Top 10 Podcasts, Top EHS & Sustainability Social Media Accounts to Follow in 2022, and The 10 Best Sustainability Podcasts for Environmental Business Leaders. 

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