Working to Restore: Harnessing the Power of Regenerative Business to Heal the World (Hardcover)

Working to Restore: Harnessing the Power of Regenerative Business to Heal the World By Esha Chhabra Cover Image

Working to Restore: Harnessing the Power of Regenerative Business to Heal the World (Hardcover)


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A 2023 Porchlight Business Book Award and Inc. Non-Obvious Book Award winner

Dispatches from the regenerative landscape, where pioneering entrepreneurs use their businesses as catalysts of change to go beyond sustainability and solve social and environmental problems

Political upheaval and social turmoil have peeled back the glitzy layers of capitalism to reveal an uncomfortable truth: historically, businesses have sourced materials from remote corners of the globe and moved millions of people and tons of cargo around the clock—all in the name of profit. Yet many of today’s startups are rewriting the rules of business: how it’s done, by whom, and, most importantly, for what purpose. Journalist Esha Chhabra draws on her decades of reporting to explore not only the “feel good, do good” factors of these restorative enterprises but also the nuanced realities and promise of regenerative business operations.

Working to Restore examines revolutionary approaches in nine areas: agriculture, waste, supply chain, inclusivity for the collective good, women in the workforce, travel, health, energy, and finance. The companies profiled are solving global issues: promoting responsible production and consumption, creating equitable opportunities for all, encouraging climate action, and more. Chhabra highlights how their work moves beyond the greenwashed idea of “sustainability” into a new era of regeneration and restoration.

We meet and learn from people like:

  • Marius Smit, founder of Plastic Whale, the first company to build boats entirely out of plastic waste removed from our oceans and waterways
  • Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion, cofounders of Veja, a shoe brand whose mission it is to make the most ecologically sensitive shoes possible
  • Konrad Brits at Falcon Coffees, a trading company leading the way with a “collaborative supply chain” by investing in the local farmers who grow and harvest coffee beans
  • “Chief Toaster” Rob Wilson and Tristram Stuart at Toast Ale, who partner with Wold Top Yorkshire Brewery to repurpose surplus bread and produce an award-winning IPA
  • Scott Fry and Martha Butler of Loving Earth, a supply chain company that sources cacao from indigenous communities and brings their people and practices to the forefront

Working to Restore highlights our most innovative entrepreneurs yet, those who understand that we cannot expect to create radical change if we try to “sustain” a system that has long been broken. Instead, their efforts of restoration and regeneration should be used as a model for other forward-thinking enterprises. Inspiring and engaging, this book shows it is possible for a business to thrive while living its mission and how the rules can be rewritten to put both the planet and its global citizens at the center.
Esha Chhabra is a writer who covers sustainability, international development, and the rise of mission-driven brands. She has spent the last decade contributing to a number of international and national publications such as The Guardian, New York Times, Wired UK, Washington Post, Atlantic, Fast Company, Forbes, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and more. She has been awarded multiple fellowships from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
Product Details ISBN: 9780807008515
ISBN-10: 0807008516
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication Date: March 21st, 2023
Pages: 248
Language: English
“With wit and energy, Chhabra introduces us to an exciting new business landscape.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The regenerative mindset enables you to sidestep getting mired in past or present challenges and catapults you and your work into the realm of the possible, the hopeful, the optimal. That’s what we love about Esha Chhabra’s Working to Restore.”
—Jay Coen Gilbert, cofounder of B Lab

“Uplifting, in every sense!”
—John Elkington, founder and chief pollinator, Volans, and author of Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism

“Provides inspiring yet tangible examples from a wide range of sectors of how to bring business back into balance and how to value what matters most: ‘simplify and spend time immersed in life, not stuff.’”
—Melissa Ho, vice president, World Wildlife Fund

Working to Restore is essential reading as we work to solve the social, economic, and environmental problems of our times.”
—Ryan Gellert, CEO, Patagonia

“Considering the trouble our planet is in, effective engagement by the private sector is one of the few promising strategies left, and Chhabra gives us plenty of excellent examples for inspiration.”
—Gero Leson, vice president of special operations at Dr. Bronner’s and author of Honor Thy Label

“This book should be required reading for everyone, as we will all need to think like entrepreneurs in order to solve the complex problems we face in the world.”
—Shilpa Shah, cofounder of Cuyana

“Just the antidote to the doom and gloom we need for our time. The book can and should inspire a generation.”
—Maxine Bedat, author of Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment

“Both beautiful and necessary.”
—Stephan Chambers, director, Marshall Institute, London School of Economics

“As usual, entrepreneurs are leading the way to transformative approaches to what ails the world. Now, global leaders and corporate executives need to get on board—and they can start by reading Working to Restore.”
—Tom Post, former managing editor, Forbes Media

“In a world so focused on short-term profit that our very survival often gets short shrift, it’s easy to despair: what choice do we have? My advice: choose to read this book, to start. Esha Chhabra has traveled the world to share the stories of businesspeople with heart and vision, and after reading Working to Restore, it’s clear that a regenerative, healing approach to business can preserve jobs, economies, and the world. Be excited about the future for once! Covering novel business solutions in health, energy, finance, the environment, and more—from brilliant, creative people, rich and poor, on six continents—Chhabra offers the one solution we need most and can apply anywhere: a better way of thinking. This book offers practical hope, backed by effective actions. Make reading Chhabra’s work one of yours.”
—Bob Harris, author of The International Bank of Bob: Connecting Our Worlds One $25 Kiva Loan at a Time

“If capitalism is to be transformed into the engine of inclusive, just, and sustainable prosperity we need, a new generation of purpose-driven companies must lead the way. Chhabra’s compelling book tells the stories of some of the best of these game-changing businesses and is guaranteed to inspire.”
—Matthew Bishop, author and former business editor of The Economist

“Saving our planet always comes down to the same thing: talk less, do more. Business leaders have a responsibility to regenerate Earth and her communities by revolutionizing our economy—and Working to Restore tells the stories of exactly that. Thoughtful, probing, solution-oriented, and hopeful, this beautiful book portrays everything we need in this time of planetary crisis to reverse our current downward spiral back up into a more virtuous circle.”
—Elizabeth Whitlow, executive director, Regenerative Organic Alliance

“We are entering the Regenerative Era. Chhabra provides portraits of innovation, resilience, and commitment to the planet and humankind that can help lead business into this new era.”
—Dr. Robert Strand, executive director, Center for Responsible Business, University of California–Berkeley