22 Best Books About Sustainability Update 05/2022

Smart sustainability professionals know that the field of sustainability (and climate change in particular) is always changing, so they keep up with the changes. It’s not something you can learn for four years in college and then be an expert at for the rest of your life. You have to keep working to improve your skills.

To lern more about your field and keep up with new trends, read books. According to reviews and feedback from experts in the field, we’ve put together a list of 25 books for sustainability professionals that you should read. Some of them are from our own shelves.

Cradle to Cradle

You should read this book if you work in manufacturing. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things is a must-read for anyone in this field. A book written by William McDonough and Michael Braungart challenges the idea that industry must always do bad things to the natural world.

Doughnut Economics

In Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist, “renegade economist” Kate Raworth presents a radical new way to think about global development, government policy, and corporate strategy. This way of thinking is based on the social and ecological challenges we face today. You don’t have to be an economist to enjoy this book, which was named a “Best Book of 2017: Economics” by the Financial Times when it came out.


It means that in the future, levels of greenhouse gases will stop rising and start to fall, which will put an end to climate change. This New York Times bestseller comes up with a list of 100 possible ways to get there and ranks them based on how likely they are to help stop global warming.

Green Giants

Check out Green Giants for a look at nine companies that have made billion-dollar businesses out of being environmentally friendly. These companies include Chipotle, General Electric, and Unilever. Freya Williams did research, interviews, and stories to figure out what these companies have in common. She came up with a plan anyone can follow to be more environmentally friendly.

Green Swans

When people talk about John Elkington, they call him the “Godfather of Sustainability.” He has written 20 books on the subject. This is why Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism has been praised by the Harvard Business Review and the UN Global Compact. He doesn’t write in a way that’s very easy to read, but his manifesto is great for business leaders who want to be ready for what’s coming in the future.

Grow the Pie

A lot of people already believe that businesses can be both good for the environment and profitable at the same time. However, Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Make Both Purpose and Profit shows that socially responsible businesses make more money in the long run than corporations that only care about making money for shareholders. It then comes up with a way for businesses to put their purpose into action, so it’s more than just a statement of what they want to do.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster

If you want to help the world be more environmentally friendly, Bill Gates is a great person to talk to. In the last few days, the billionaire said that he would donate $1.5 billion to projects to help fight climate change. As you might expect, his book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster looks at the climate crisis from the point of view of an engineer. It looks at niche technologies like carbon-free cement manufacturing as well as more common solutions.

Material Value

People who work in manufacturing need to read Material Value: How to Make Everything, from Cell Phones to Cleaning Products, in a more sustainable way. When author Julia Goldstein writes in a way that isn’t very technical or complicated, her book doesn’t read more like a manifesto but more like a guide. Readers will enjoy the clear explanations, personal stories, and interviews with business people in this book.

Our Next Evolution

The first job Laura Calandrella had was as a conservation biologist. She now works as a leadership strategist and consultant. People and technical challenges aren’t the only things that organizations have to deal with when they want to make changes that last. Calandrella has a unique way of looking at what it takes to make changes that last. Our Next Evolution should be on the bookshelf of any CEO.


“Scale” is Geoffrey West’s way of trying to figure out “the order of everything.” He came up with the Universal Laws of Life, Growth, and Death in Organisms, Cities, and Companies to do this. In this book, he talks about the laws of scale that rule everything from plants and animals to cities and towns. Sustainability experts will find West’s connections between biology and business very interesting.

Silent Spring

Silent Spring was written in 1962 and shows how pesticides can make people sick. A lot of people thought Rachel Carson was unscientific or even crazy, but her work led to a ban on DDT across the country and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has been named one of the 25 best science books of all time by the editors of Discover Magazine, who write the magazine.

Small is Beautiful

The book Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Really Mattered, which was written in 1973, is still relevant today as it was when it was first written. E.F. Schumacher used his background in economics to write a series of 21 essays called “Insane Work Cannot Produce a Sane Society” and “Industry and Morals.” These essays call for an end to overconsumption. If you want to buy local and buy fair trade, you should look up Small Is Beautiful.

Sustainability: A History

Sustainability is all around us these days, from the food we buy at the grocery store to the buildings we live and work in. It’s called Sustainability: A History by Jeremy L. Caradonna, and he talks about how sustainability has changed over time from the 1600s to the present day. As you read this, you’ll learn a lot about how we ended up with the way we do now.

The Ecology of Commerce

As Paul Hawken writes in the introduction to his new book, “Common sense says there is only one critical balance and one set of needs in the world: the dynamic, ever-changing interplay of the forces of life.” This is what he means. An important book called The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability talks about this balance a lot. It imagines a restorative economy that brings together ecology and commerce in a way that isn’t harmful to the environment.

The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist

The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil tells the story of author Christine Bader’s work at BP and later at the United Nations, where she worked to make the world’s biggest companies more responsible and sustainable. Inspirational: It’s a good story about people who work in the field of corporate social responsibility. It shows how they deal with problems, and how they succeed at their jobs.

The Future We Choose

Christina Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, two of the most well-known people in the world of climate change, were in charge of UN negotiations during the Paris Agreement. Figueres and Rivett-Carnac write a book called The Future We Choose: The Stubborn Optimist’s Guide to the Climate Crisis. In it, they write about two possible futures for our planet: one if we don’t meet the Paris Agreement target, and one if we do. They write about both. If you want to help solve this problem, there is also a chapter called “Doing What’s Necessary,” which lists ten concrete things you can do on your own.

The Grid

In this picture, there is a grid with wires that are getting a little frayed. “The largest machine in the world” is the power grid in the United States. It’s a good look at how the grid came to be, how it has flaws, and how hard it is to make it work for today’s needs. The Grid is a must-read for anyone who works in the energy field who wants to be more environmentally friendly.

The Sixth Extinction

According to the book’s title, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History is a scary look at climate change and the danger humans pose. In this book, it’s claimed that the Earth is in the middle of a man-made sixth mass extinction. It tells the stories of animals that have been extinct or are in danger of becoming extinct. An award for a book written by Elizabeth Kolbert was given out in 2015.

The Story of More

Hope Jahren is an award-winning scientist and the author of the best-selling book Lab Girl. She is also a very good writer. She wrote an open letter to humanity called “The Story of More.” In it, she talks about how we got to climate change and what to do next. This book is a quick, but powerful, read. It has just 210 pages, but it’s Jahren’s great conversational writing style that makes it shine the most.

The Uninhabitable Earth

In The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, a terrifying look at the effects of global warming is shown. Famine, climate wars, and economic collapse all happen because of global warming. The Washington Post called it “this generation’s Silent Spring.” It’s a strong call to action on climate change. Before you go to bed, don’t read this book.

The Upcycle

Cradle to Cradle is a great book, but if you like it, you should read The Upcycle as well. As they write their highly anticipated follow-up to Cradle to Cradle, William McDonough and Michael Braungart think about the next step in our ecological future: one where instead of reusing and recycling more effectively, we improve the environment. This is what they think will happen.

There is No Planet B

A guide for people who want to make or break their lives How can we avoid climate disaster? and What should we do first? have been asked for a long time now. It was written in 2019, but it has been changed because of the pandemic and growing concerns about global warming. There Is No Planet B is full of facts and practical ideas for anyone who wants to help protect our planet.

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