10 Great Books for Sustainable Investors

The list of books on sustainable and socially responsible investing, corporate social responsibility and green investing has grown over the years. Below you'll find a few to add to your own "Sustainable Investing Best Sellers" list.

Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage by Andrew S. Winston and Daniel C. Esty: Esty, an environmental law professor at Yale University and a former EPA official, along with Winston, put together what remains the seminal corporate sustainability strategy book to read before all others. Much better than Esty's subsequent "Green to Gold Business Playbook" or Winston's ​"Big Pivot," "Green to Gold" remains a must-read.

Thinking in Systems: A Primer ​posthumously published on behalf of Donella Meadows: As solutions to sustainability challenges continue to be seen as requiring systems thinking and systemic solutions, there is no better primer on the subject than this book which grabs you by the seat and doesn't let go until the triumphant conclusion. Not to be missed. 

There are also a number of impact-investing books to consider such as JPMorgan's summary reports compiled with the Global Impact-Investing Network (GIIN), Eyes on the Horizon.  

Frankly, much of the literature is also simply published publicly and is freely available.

Sustainable Investing: The Art of Long Term Performance

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Edited by Cary Krosinsky and Nick Robins, this book in 2008 drew a line under the transition that was then starting from the more negative, often financially underperforming SRI approaches to what has become the fastest-growing segment of SRI, that being more positive forms of sustainable investment strategy which have been outperforming.

Evolutions in Sustainable Investing: Strategies, Funds and Thought Leadership

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Edited by Cary Krosinsky with Nick Robins and Stephen Viederman, this ​follow-up book demonstrated 15 case studies of investor strategy, in combination with regional perspectives and thought leadership from the likes of Paul Hawken and many other respected figures in the field of sustainable investing.  

Five Older Books to Keep in Mind

The oldest book, the bible
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Socially Responsible Investing: Making a Difference and Making Money by Amy Domini: One of the pioneers in SRI writes about making money while building a better society. Domini describes her ways of screening companies, how to use shareholder power to communicate with companies and making a difference through community investment.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Socially Responsible Investing by Ken Little: Little, a veteran financial writer, and editor present an approachable and easy to understand introduction to socially responsible investing.

Beyond The Bottom Line: Putting Social Responsibility to Work for Your Business and the World by Joel Makower: An argument that firms "function best when they merge their business interests with the interests of customers, employees, suppliers." The author looks at well-known companies such as The Body Shop and Reebok and explains how they have implemented socially and environmentally responsible policies into their operations.

The SRI Advantage by Peter Camejo: Camejo, an experienced investment adviser specializing in socially responsible investing, argues that SR investors need not sacrifice performance for their beliefs. He presents evidence that SRI has outperformed financially, explains why outperforms, and then examines what it all means for investment professionals, investors, pension funds, and community/non-profit groups.

The Triple Bottom Line by Andrew W. Savitz: Savitz, a sustainable business consultant, lays out the rise of sustainability within the business world and shows how and why financial success increasingly goes hand in hand with social and environmental achievement.