What I’m reading this month: Net Positive

Richard Branson sitting in a chair by the pool on Necker Island writing
Kevin Wolf
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 13 December 2021

This month, I’ve started re-reading Net Positive by Paul Polman and Andrew Winston with the members of my Literati book club.

I’ve worked with Paul as a fellow leader of The B Team and on the Business Leaders Against the Death Penalty campaign, and I’ve long admired his commitment to purpose-driven business. As a former CEO of Unilever and someone who helped develop the UN Global Goals, Paul is truly an expert in the field and his book is a crucial read for leaders all over the world.


In case his credentials weren’t enough, Paul teamed up with Andrew as one of the world's leading thinkers on sustainable business to write Net Positive. The authors both bring a relentless optimism and sharp-eyed vision of the future to the pages, and they ask a very important question: Is the world a better place because your business is in it? It’s simple questions like this that every leader and entrepreneur should ask themselves, and it’s why our mission at Virgin is to ‘Change Business For Good’. Businesses should always create a culture where employees can challenge the status quo, stand up for what’s right, and focus their ideas and resources on making the world a better place. 

I don’t really like jargon-filled business books that lack simple and practical take-aways, so it was refreshing to find very tangible advice in Net Positive. I was particularly inspired by the decision making framework Paul created at Unilever, which successfully put people and the planet at the centre of the entire organisation. The framework ended up touching one billion people, doubling the company’s sales without adding to its footprint, and greatly improved the lives of suppliers all around the world. Amazing!

Net Positive is a wonderful rallying call to business leaders all over the world to step up to the greatest opportunity (and responsibility) of our time. I hope everyone else who reads it finds it as inspiring and insightful as I did.

Join my Literati book club to read Net Positive with me this month.