The Responsible Company

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.”

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Water 4.0

water-4-0

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.
  • Water 3.0—sewage treatment.
  • Water 4.0—next-generation water systems.

I will focus on some of the more contemporary topics in this summary. Continue reading