10 Books for Sustainable Investors

Sustainable and Responsible Literature Increases

The list of books on sustainable and socially responsible investing, corporate social responsibility and green investing is growing.

Below you'll find a few to add to your own "Sustainable Investing Best Sellers" list.

In addition to our own two edited books, Sustainable Investing: The Art of Long Term Performance and Evolutions in Sustainable Investing -  Strategies, Funds and Thought Leadership, three other seminal books need mentioning as follows

1)  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 Playbook or Winston's Big Pivot, Green to Gold remains a must read.

2)  Thinking in Systems: A Primer posthumously published on behalf of Donella Meadows

The single best book I've read over the last 10 years.  As solutions to sustainability challenges are growingly 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. 

3)  There are also a number of Impact Investing books to consider, you can choose the one you think is best - we recommend JPMorgan's summary reports compiled with the GIIN instead, the most one being entitled Eyes on the Horizon.  

Frankly, much of the literature these days in the field is also simply published publicly, and is freely available, as we discuss in these pages.  Look for an upcoming review of the recent Routledge Handbook of Responsible Investment of which I am one of many chapter authors.  At $210 a copy, recommending this book may not be very responsible (pun fully intended).

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 under performing 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. Buy from Amazon

Evolutions in Sustainable Investing: Strategies, Funds and Thought Leadership


Edited by Cary Krosinsky with Nick Robins and Stephen Viederman.  

This followup book demonstrated 15 case studies of investor strategy, in combination in regional perspectives and thought leadership from the likes of Paul Hawken and many other respected figures in the field of sustainable investing.   Buy from Amazon

Five older books to keep in mind would also include

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 1)  Socially Responsible Investing: Making a Difference and Making Money by Amy Domini

One of the pioneer’s 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.

2)  The Complete Idiot's Guide to Socially Responsible Investing by Ken Little

Little, a veteran financial writer and editor of the stocks website for About.com., presents an approachable and easy to understand introduction to socially responsible investing.

3)  Beyond The Bottom Line: Putting Social Responsibility To Work For Your Business 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.

4)  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/nonprofit groups.

5)  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.

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