Recommended reading for socially responsible businesses

Vancouver Public Library’s five picks for companies committed to making a better world

Times are changing. Consumers are demanding that companies change practices, become more transparent and help make the world a better place.

Companies are responding, and building corporate social responsibility into everything they do. Inspire and inform your company with these recommendations from the reading and information experts at the Vancouver Public Library. Find the titles at

Fixing Fashion: Rethinking the Way We Make, Market and Buy Our Clothes by Michael Lavergne

What would it take to make and market clothes in a socially responsible way? Michael Lavergne starts with the then-and-now of the world’s fashion industry – including exploitative labour practices and environmental degradation – then introduces entrepreneurs who are leading the way to transparent supply chains, economic justice and sustainability.

The Giveback Economy: Social Responsibility Practices for Business and Nonprofit by Peter Miller and Carla Langhorst

This short, practical guide to running a socially responsible business looks at examples from a host of companies and how they research policies, find partners, market to consumers and other businesses, and recruit and train staff and volunteers. It’s a handy book for managers and business owners looking for a concrete plan with sound advice.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, Including 10 More Years of Business Unusual by Yvon Chouinard

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard started what’s now considered one of the world’s most environmentally responsible companies; its brand is legendary in the outdoor and apparel industries. Chouinard has combined his love of the outdoors with a business model based on less greed, and this updated memoir is a great read for those inspired to do ethical business.

Shapeholders: Business Success in the Age of Activism by Mark Kennedy

How can a business thrive under pressure from a socially conscious world? Mark Kennedy proposes new rules of business engagement that acknowledge and involve the growing awareness of socio-political, economic and environmental issues. It’s a useful look at strategies to maintain profitability while adopting socially responsible business practices.

We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World by Simon Mainwaring

Social media’s massive influence is undeniable, and its global reach gives consumers a platform to demand that brands be socially responsible. We First is a guidebook that will help your company use social media to balance business and consumer needs. Included are case studies featuring some of the world’s biggest brands.