The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned from Patagonia’s First 40 Years
by Yvon Chouinard and Vincent Stanley
We hear a lot about sustainability, but the authors contend “no human economic activity is yet sustainable… Responsible seems to us the apt, more modest, word to use… The term itself is necessary shorthand; there is no responsible company, only responsible companies of varying degrees, who act strategically to do less harm while improving, not sacrificing, the health of the business.”
Doing good and seeking profit are not incompatible. Wal-Mart’s initial environmental efforts were motivated by reputation management, “but removing excess packaging from deodorant sticks, concentrating laundry detergent in small bottles, and installing auxiliary power units in their trucks to reduce idling time turned out to save them millions of dollars.”
Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource
by David Sedlak
David Sedlak is a professor of environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. In this book he explains the history, science, engineering, and political aspects of water and sewer systems. First, it may be helpful to decode the title:
Water 1.0—a system of importing and distributing water.
Water 2.0—drinking water treatment including filtration and chlorination.
The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good
by Ryan Honeyman
What is a B Corp? B Corporations are for-profit organizations which serve a variety of stakeholders rather than to enrich shareholders exclusively. Stakeholders include employees, the community, the environment, as well as the firm’s owners. B stands for benefit.
The term applies in two contexts: Certified B Corps and a form of incorporation offered by several U.S. states. The majority of this book is about the former. The latter is addressed at the end of this summary. Continue reading →