5 Most Useful Books on Understanding Green Marketing

I have been working with sourcing, producing and selling eco-friendly products for more than five years. Throughout these five years, I have learned an awful lot about how “green marketing” works. It all started when I worked in a company that sold eco-friendly wooden sunglasses. That developed into a project where I started to sell eco-friendly soap dispensers on Amazon.

In addition to that, I have an MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) with a focus on eco-friendly production lines.

So I thought that I would buy some books from Amazon that would teach me how to improve my business.

In fact, I bought a total of eight books. Out of these eight, I can only recommend five. And those can be found in this article.

In a hurry? Here are my top three picks

If you already trust me, I would recommend just picking one of these books from the “Amazon shelf” straight away:

The Green Marketing Manifesto
The Green to Gold Business Playbook: How to Implement Sustainability Practices for Bottom-Line Results in Every Business Function
My favorite!
The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools, and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding
The Green Marketing Manifesto
The Green to Gold Business Playbook: How to Implement Sustainability Practices for Bottom-Line Results in Every Business Function
The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools, and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding
$32.00
$17.00
$12.25
17 Reviews
36 Reviews
56 Reviews
The Green Marketing Manifesto
The Green Marketing Manifesto
$32.00
17 Reviews
The Green to Gold Business Playbook: How to Implement Sustainability Practices for Bottom-Line Results in Every Business Function
The Green to Gold Business Playbook: How to Implement Sustainability Practices for Bottom-Line Results in Every Business Function
$17.00
36 Reviews
My favorite!
The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools, and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding
The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools, and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding
$12.25
56 Reviews

If you want to read more about the books, feel free to scroll down.

I would really recommend having a look at the description (or click and read about the books on Amazon) in order to understand what the books are really about.

Top five books about green marketing – and why they’re so great

#1: “The Green to Gold Business Playbook” by Esty & Simmons

The Green to Gold Business Playbook: How to Implement Sustainability Practices for Bottom-Line Results in Every Business Function
36 Reviews
The Green to Gold Business Playbook: How to Implement Sustainability Practices for Bottom-Line Results in Every Business Function
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Esty, Daniel C. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 735 Pages - 04/08/2011 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

Why is this book on this list?

This book is often referred to as “the holy bible of Green Marketing”. And rightfully so. The book is quite general. In other words: it suits everyone that wants to offer any type of eco-friendly service or product. At the same time, the authors are quite good at giving examples that are relevant to a certain type of industry.

For example, they had a brilliant chapter about how the hairdressing industry could implement green practices. And, more importantly, how that could be used as a trick to get more customers and revenue.

The Green to Gold Business Playbook

Pros

  • Very well-written and exciting
  • Explains very well the financial value of eco-friendly products
  • Several universities use this book in their education

Cons

  • A bit too general
  • Might fit best for people that already have basic understanding of economics

#2: “The Green marketing Manifesto” by Grant

The Green Marketing Manifesto
17 Reviews
The Green Marketing Manifesto
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Grant, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 321 Pages - 08/19/2009 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

Why is this book on this list?

Another book that can easily be used by universities all over the world. This book is very similar to The Green to Gold Business Playbook. However, I would argue that the “Green Marketing Manifesto” might be a bit too long.

The book is great, but I am not always sure about the predictions the author is making.

On the flip side, I am a huge fan of what Grant names the “Green Matrix”, which is a framework that is brilliant to explain where green marketing is headed in the future.

The Green Marketing Manifesto

Pros

  • The author is very knowlegable
  • Great numbers of real-life examples
  • Perfect for university students

Cons

  • Sometimes a bit “technical” language

 

#3: “The New Rules of Green Marketing” by Ottman

The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools, and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding
56 Reviews
The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools, and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Ottman, Jacquelyn (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 274 Pages - 02/14/2011 (Publication Date) - Berrett-Koehler Publishers (Publisher)

Why is this book on this list?

This book is on the list because it’s my favorite. There are so many reasons why you should read this book if you’re interested in green marketing. For instance:

– Real-life examples from some of the biggest companies in the world.
– It explains the history of green marketing from 1970 until today in a brilliant way
– It highlights the importance of distinguishing greenwashing from actually making products that reduce the overall carbon footprint

This book isn’t meant to be read by students. But it’s a great book that will educate and entertain you.

The New Rules of Green Marketing

Pros

  • Well-written
  • Funny, yet educational
  • Will teach you “everything” about green marketing
  • Great for beginners

Cons

  • Nothing

#4: “Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses” by Williams

Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses
59 Reviews
Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Williams, E. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 305 Pages - 08/12/2015 (Publication Date) - AMACOM (Publisher)

Why is this book on this list?

I was not sure whether to put this book on the list or not. Don’t get me wrong: I love the format. The author picks nine huge corporations and explains why they have succeeded with green marketing.

It’s just that I… don’t really agree with everything she is writing.

If you are completely new to green marketing and just want a grasp of the concept: buy it. If you got some years of experience, I would recommend buying something else.

Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses

Pros

  • Easy-to-read
  • Great examples from LARGE corporations you already know
  • Written by a female CEO

Cons

  • Some weird chapters that I didn’t really understood
  • Definitely best for beginners

#5: “The Green Collar Economy” by Jones

Sale
The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems
130 Reviews
The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems
  • Jones, Van (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 09/29/2009 (Publication Date) - HarperOne (Publisher)

Why is this book on this list?

This book is a product of two different things:

1) The authors’ own experiences within business.
2) Interview with several CEOs in the “green marketing industry”.

It’s not that the book is bad…it’s just very complex.

PS! This book is looooong. It took me more than three weeks to finish it, which is about two weeks more than I usually spend on books. However, I would say that it’s a decent book if you REALLY want to dig deep into the topic of green marketing.

If you’re just “OKish” interested, I would rather buy “The New Rules of Green Marketing”.

Green Collar Economy

Pros

  • Well-written
  • TONS of research and effort is put into this book
  • Examples from a lot of successful people

Cons

  • Too long
  • Some chapters should have been removed

Do you have other book recommendations?

If you have other book recommendations that can enlighten me about green marketing, I am more than willing to hear from you.

It’s a comment section below that can be used by anyone (anonymously). Feel free to either criticize my choice of books – or simply give a recommendation, and I will be sure to check it out if it’s relevant and easily available. 🙂

6 thoughts on “5 Most Useful Books on Understanding Green Marketing”

  1. I would also like to add something to the “Green marketing bible”.

    You do NOT need to read the whole book. If you skim through it, read the examples, and some of the text…that is more than enough in order to understand what green eco-friendly marketing is all about.

  2. Good list.

    As a teacher, I have used “Green Collar Economy” in many of my lectures. Not as something I would push on the students (they are a bit too ‘weak’ for that). However, it’s a brilliant book for many interesting examples and references on green marketing.

  3. Thank you!

    I have actually already read “The New Rules of Green Marketing” and it stands very well in 2020. Superb book – I agree with you.

    Clicked this article to find out if there are some other green marketing books that I haven’t read, but I guess that this was the best one possibly…which makes me think that I might actually have to explore a new area. Or become an entrepreneur as you and publish my own soap dispenser on Amazon hahaha

    1. Hi Julia, thanks for your comment.

      I am sure there are loads of other great books about green marketing – I just haven’t found them yet. 😉

      Good to hear that you also enjoyed “The New Rules of Green Marketing”. That books is superb.

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