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Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage
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Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,256 ratings  ·  42 reviews
The essential guide for forward-thinking business leaders who see the Green Wave coming and want to profit from it
This book explores what every executive must know to manage the environmental challenges facing society and business. Based on the authors' years of experience and hundreds of interviews with corporate leaders around the world, Green to Gold shows how companies
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 9th 2006 by Yale University Press
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Joan Leung
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
In the past two days, I attended the @Asian Financial Forum 2021 virtually. Many keynote speakers are talking about fiance industry has disrupted by two factors, one is the digital economy, another is climate change. So I was thinking about nowadays how to get the green or environmental topic into corporate strategy? This book gave me a lot of help and insights on rebuild the green strategy.


First, I want to tell a little bit about the authors' background. Dan Esty has touched all the
Gregory Peterson
Dan Esty has touched all the academic bases: Harvard undergrad, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and a JD from Yale. He earned his professional stripes through a long stint at the EPA, a visiting professorship at INSEAD and a directorship at Yale’s Center for Environmental Law and Policy. And he has authored nine books on environmental matters — the latest of which is “Green To Gold,” co-written with Andrew Winston, Director of the Corporate Environmental Strategy Project at Yale.

So it wasn’t for lack o
Martin Wimmers
Mar 12, 2022 rated it liked it
A good understanding of environmentalism into corporate. However, the book (at least the version I read) was a bit outdated and sometimes the examples felt more like good PR for some major companies. Nevertheless, the book greatly emphasizes that the environmental impact of a company is crucial and shouldn't be neglected. I really liked the Apollo13 principle of 'no is not an answer' in the context of a production pipeline. I think the book is a good read for everyone that wants to have a cleare ...more
Jun 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: business, irps
More like a 2.5. Not a bad book, but it's not really something that is going to change the business world. CEOs of companies like those that were profiled will probably scoff at the somewhat simplistic advice offered here, whereas small to mid-sized companies may struggle to make some of the changes necessary to ride the "Green Wave" (you just know they want that one to catch on...).

Personally, the book made me think at least a little about what my new employer might be doing, or even if it face
Marc Buckley
Apr 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the earlier books co-written by Andrew Winston. It provides the thinking on how business leaders can address environmental issues in the new economy. This is really a must-read for anyone interested in the future of business and our world. I had an interesting conversation with Andrew on my podcast Inside Ideas, where we discussed this and the upcoming book that he writes together with Paul Polman.
You can listen to the video podcast here:

Max Nova
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: environment, business
Esty's "Green to Gold" is an interesting read about how large "WaveRider" corporations are dealing with the Green Wave. It's packed with anecdotes from about a dozen corporations from IKEA to Herman Miller to BP. He talks a lot about forming relationships with NGOs and other environmental groups long before problems emerge ("feelings are facts"), designing for the environment to lower costs and maintain a competitive advantage, and using a environmental sustainability as a way to attract and ret ...more
Marcus Goncalves
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great read, a required read for all executives. This book explores what they must know to manage the environmental challenges facing society and business, and how to be good stewards of the Earth while simultaneously building the bottom line; how to keep a sharp focus on execution while using an environmental strategy.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought this economically-focused environmental book was a refreshing twist on the typical environmental books. The facts and figures presented are well-support and make for an interesting and informative read. I would recommend this to all the skeptics out there on the "green" movement ...more
Adrienne Gould-Choquette
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really helped me get my business started when I read it 5 years ago. A lot of great, timeless lessons.
basic review of company environmental strategies, but quite dry
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Listened it completely on Audible.
Repetitive messages, book is lacking any concrete messages. Wave writers or wave riders, not sure what does it actually mean. At some point, it looked like a book funded from companies whose names taken throughout book. No Any Concrete learning from listening.
May 25, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sustainability
Great book on strategy, finding comp advantage, and offering simple tools. Reread.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Just look at the title of the book: "Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage"

Are you game/interested in reading a book with such a title. Then read on. :)

These days we get to hear a lot of these terms which are supposedly the need of the hour and helpful for all the world. e.g. Greening, sustainability, recycle, reuse & renewable.

If you were a company and are wondering does it make any sense in all this and whe
Preston Kutney
A couple months ago, I read a fantastic HBR article that was written by the co-author of this book, Andrew Winston, on prioritizing environmental and social issues in business strategy in order to increase company resilience, brand reputation, customer loyalty etc. This article really sparked my interest in the area of business sustainability, and so I purchased Winston (and Esty's) book.

The intent of this book seems to be to serve as a resource for business leaders looking to make a case for s
May 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for a company executive trying to figure out how to 'go green', or how much he/she needs to pay attention to environmental issues. The book is loaded with examples of companies large and small that have taken the lead on the environment, from Wal-Mart and GE to BP and Shell, to little Swiss companies you've never heard of. The basic point is that environmental issues are 'strategic' -- meaning that they'll bite you if you're not paying attention. Example -- a cereal company ...more
David R
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book is a hapless, scientifically and morally devoid treatise making the "business case" for more environmentally sound economic activities. It isn't, as it claims, a fundamental rethinking of green practices in the business realm, but rather encouraging business to make changes at the margins, where such activities reduce costs, enhance brand image, or profitably reduce environmental damage. The book says nothing about internalization of costs, cap and trade systems, or other policies to p ...more
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, business
This is a practical book which looks at how - and why - various global companies have integrated environmental sustainability into their businesses.

The book operates at a fairly shallow level and even when discussing motivation for environmental leadership focuses mostly on numerical payoffs rather than philosophical backing.

Its main strength is in the breadth of its examples and the practicality of its advice. It was last updated in 2009 so it is a bit out of date (BP is an environmental lead
Oct 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
This was a good book; well written and presented. The authors researched a number of companies to find examples of businesses succeeding and failing with environmental strategy, and present a lot of interesting and useful anecdotes from different companies throughout the book. The book presents a bit of actionable advice as well as a few tools and metrics. The tips and ideas seem useful to show how a business can work to be more sustainable and concurrently enjoy more success in the market.
Oct 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Provides good tools and case studies to help readers develop a strategy to overcome environmental inertia at work. Nails the main issues and provides helpful suggestions. I wish they made this required reading at work.

That said, this book does focus mostly on the challenges of large companies (think Fortune 500), so it may not be as applicable or helpful to readers who work for smaller-sized organizations with traditional non-environmental strategies.
Feb 02, 2008 rated it liked it
An outstanding premise, but the authors just didn't deliver as compelling a case as they could have. They sacrificed the opportunity for a great thesis driven home by some key evidence and statistics by attempting to be overly comprehensive about the green movement and by trying to build a prescription for success. In the end, I would recommend reading the first several chapters and skipping the strategic recommendations. ...more
Sep 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: sustainability
Profiles (more like sketches, really) of Fortune 500-type companies that are made money by going green, combined with key strategies & risk distilled by the two authors. I'm on my company's internal "green team" and found it very useful in generating ideas and helping us plot our course to sustainability. Only three stars because the writing is bad, though perhaps par for business-management books. ...more
Tony Canas
I read it because it's the new capstone book for ISU's MBA program (replaced The World is Flat). I figured I'd check it out to prepare for my Managing for Sustainability class which I'm taking in Spring to finish my MBA. It's a solid book that explains in business terms the why and most importantly the why of the green revolution and how to take advantage of it. I especially like that they don't sugar coat and avoid making it seem like every green investment will be a home run. ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good book for the environmentally conscious business man and a must read if you want to gain the eco-advantage over your competitors. This is a business / environmental strategies book. As business books go I give it an A-. Environmental sustainability is where my field (EHS Management) is heading and this book will give anyone in corporate America or with an affiliated NGO, tips on strategies to employ, pitfalls to be wary of, and how to measure success.
Colin Kemmis
Very interesting depiction showing how you can save money and be green in business. I wish more companies would pay attention to this book/movement. A few new ideas for me - looking at the sustainability of the supply chain, and using the green qualities of a product as the '3rd button' to push with marketing. Good read. ...more
Sep 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I had to read this book for my University subject, Sustainability so I thought it would be pretty painful. Actually it wasn't too bad and I enjoyed the crystal ball look into the future of our businesses. This book is good for anyone who wants to get a grasp on why we must have a carbon tax in Australia, that sort of thing. I actually enjoyed this book. ...more
Aug 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
I thought this economically-focused environmental book was a refreshing twist on the typical environmental books. The facts and figures presented are well-support and make for an interesting and informative read. I would recommend this to all the skeptics out there on the "green" movement. ...more
Peter Holst
In depth profile on what it means for companies to turn "green" into profits. Some make the choices intuitively while others are more creative. The real-world data keeps the book relevant, and it sorts them to make a well-structured guide for companies redefining their strategies. ...more
Robin Woodcock
Eh. I think this reads more like an instruction manual for companies interested in embarking on a sustainability program. Not that much of a value-add for me but probably good for someone very new into sustainability.
Books and Beer Singapore
Read it as a text-book for an Business & the Environment class. The book read well, easy like Freakonomics or Undercover Economist but was too American-centric to be of much use, particularly in a class taught in Asia. The lecturer was American though! -Mel
Jun 21, 2007 rated it liked it
examines economic feasability of companies movement towards more environmentaly friendly practices.
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