HarperCollins announces first Indian-authored book on how ESG can benefit businesses, written by Dr Mukund Rajan and Col. Rajeev Kumar

NEW DELHI, Nov. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Outlast: How ESG Can Benefit Your Business is a masterful overview of the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) landscape and the issues that businesses face

Outlast Cover


The first Indian-authored book on how ESG can help businesses build resilience and outlast their competition is slated to release on 7 December 2021. Outlast is a panoramic sweep of the ESG domain, rich with case studies, as the authors draw upon their considerable experience of working for some of India’s largest organizations.

It includes case studies drawn from the Tata Group, as well as examples from other businesses like Marico, The Gap, Unilever, Olam, Foxconn, Page Industries, Apollo Tyres, Nike, Ranbaxy, Enron, Arthur Andersen, Volkswagen, Coal India, Cognizant, and many more. Dr Mukund Rajan and Col. Rajeev Kumar’s new book has received dazzling praise and endorsements from corporate leaders, policymakers, practitioners and thought leaders.

The book can be pre-ordered on Amazon here: bit.ly/ESGbook  


Chapter 1 – The New Mantra of ESG

[ESG and Financial Returns; Key Drivers for ESG Improvement]

Chapter 2 – Embracing the ESG Agenda

[Corporate Purpose and the ESG Agenda; ESG Assessment; Materiality]

Chapter 3 – The Influential Media

[Platforms for Critique and Protest; Nurturing Sustainable Consumerism; Influencing Government Action; Strengthening Communities; Shaping Investor Sentiment; Media Ownership and Bias; Responsible Corporate Communication]

Chapter 4 – Corruption and the State

[Corporate Voices in India; Policy Shifts: The Case of Civil Aviation; Corrupt Practices; Election Funding in India; Anti-Corruption Campaigns]

Chapter 5 – The Changing Climate

[Corporate Strategies in a Warming World; Questions of Responsibility and Equity; Investor Pressure; Pressure from Other Stakeholders]

Chapter 6 – Dignity and Respect at the Workplace

[Employee Engagement; Senior Executive Pay; Labour Standards; Female Labour Force Participation; Women’s Safety; Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in India]

Chapter 7 – Codifying Conduct

[Making Codes Effective; Blowing the Whistle; Designing a Code; Why Codes Fail]

Chapter 8 – Shareholder Activism

[The Advent of Proxy Advisory Firms; Activist Funds; Good Governance; Independent Directors; Contested Shareholder Resolutions; Stewardship Codes]


[Whither Corporate India?]

Author Dr Mukund Rajan says, “The 1991 liberalization reforms rang the death knell for many Indian firms that used to be market leaders. Many of India’s leading enterprises today could meet the same fate if they do not face up to the new ESG challenges the market presents. The Age of Responsibility is well upon us, and the companies that will outlast their competition are the ones that will build resilience and prepare their businesses for long-term success through a holistic adoption of the mantra of ESG.”

Author Dr (Col.) Rajeev Kumar says, “Companies and investment vehicles are under unprecedented pressure from their stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to mainstreaming ESG considerations into their strategic decision-making processes and using their platforms to advance ESG principles that support long-term, sustainable growth strategies. Outlast highlights the impact of this new focus on ESG on businesses, and underlines how capital will increasingly be allocated in the future towards well-governed companies that contribute to the goals of a more sustainable economy and society.” 

Amrita Mukerji, Managing Editor, HarperCollins India, says, “ESG issues are becoming more relevant by the day, especially post the COVID-19 pandemic, and the adoption of ESG principles will soon be a must for the corporate sector. Outlast explains ESG and its benefits in an accessible, easy-to-understand format, using case studies of well-known organizations. These are principles that will help companies build resilience and outlast their competition, and the authors draw upon their years of experience in the corporate sector to explain exactly how.”


Black-swan events, global warming, COVID-19 and a host of other natural and man-made disasters have tested the resilience of businesses across the world. Usually, blame for business failures is apportioned to external factors such as adverse business cycles, badly framed government regulations and lack of infrastructure. However, the causes often lie within—short-term thinking, destruction of natural resources, exploitation of labour and poor management, to name a few.

To outlast their competition, build resilience, gain competitive advantage and achieve greater returns in the long run, businesses must improve their performance on material ESG metrics: Environmental impacts such as their consumption of natural resources, waste discharge and carbon emissions; Social factors such as ties with local communities, diversity and inclusion, and building a good reputation with stakeholders; and Governance, including board effectiveness protocols, approach to senior executive compensation and appropriate reliance on independent directors. The benefits that ensue include more efficient use of resources, lower cost of operations, reduced risk, higher employee productivity and increased investor interest.

Outlast: How ESG Can Benefit Your Business is a clarion call to corporate leaders to follow the pathway of ESG. The authors, Mukund Rajan and Col. Rajeev Kumar, draw upon their considerable experience of working for some of India’s largest organizations to present evidence and case studies that show that ESG is the mantra of the future. This is a timely read for all those who belong to, or aspire to be part of, the corporate world.


DR MUKUND RAJAN is the Chairman of ECube Investment Advisors, a pioneering platform to catalyse Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) improvements. Previously, in a twenty-three-year career with the Tata Group, India’s largest corporate house, he served as Brand Custodian, Chief Ethics Officer and Chairman of the Tata Global Sustainability Council.

DR (COL.) RAJEEV KUMAR is a strategic communications consultant and a Fellow of the International Association of Business Communicators. He has a PhD in Organizational Communication and was a Fulbright Doctoral Fellow at Texas A&M University. He was the Head of Learning and Development at Tata Group Corporate Communication.


This book is a welcome addition to the Indian business environment, drawing from years of experience with practical suggestions on how to build a more successful, multi-stakeholder, long-term business with purpose at its core. Any business that leverages the life wisdoms of the authors will increase its chances of success. After all, business cannot succeed in failing societies, nor can it be a bystander in a system that gives it life in the first place.’

—Paul Polman, Co-founder and Chair, IMAGINE; former CEO, Unilever

‘Creating prosperity requires business leaders to build trust in their organizations. Outlast provides valuable insights on how to do so in a context where environmental, social and governance issues are becoming increasingly important.’

George Serafeim, Charles M. Williams Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

‘High-performing companies are committing to conform to international ESG norms, moving beyond optics as they embrace the value of ESG in attracting investors and employees to their business. The authors have drawn on their years of experience and brilliantly set out the ESG landscape, peppered with examples, in a useful guide for all practitioners.’

—Naina Lal Kidwai, Chair, India Sanitation Coalition, and former President, FICCI

‘In extraordinary COVID-19 times, this is a book that makes you press the pause button and think. How should corporate India, in particular, align itself to a “new” world where good governance needs a more holistic approach that goes well beyond profits? This is, as the authors rightly suggest, the age of ethical social responsibility, one that will hopefully help shape a better post-pandemic world.’

—Rajdeep Sardesai, news anchor, journalist and author

‘This book will be an eye-opener for businesses that are yet to fully comprehend the power of the ESG mantra to ensure business survival and growth. My own experience at Marico reinforces the authors’ argument that ESG must be at the heart of every business strategy if long-term success is sought.’

—Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico

‘The global economy has shifted its focus to creating a future marked by sustainability and responsibility. ESG efforts are not only influencing investor decisions but are now considered a sound indicator of reliable future performance. A crucial topic, covered in depth by experienced authors who offer a valuable perspective on the subject. An important read for companies and investors today.’

—Zia Mody, Founder and Managing Partner, AZB & Partners

‘Mukund Rajan and Rajeev Kumar need to be congratulated for their analytical attempt to focus on our long-term problems, which impact the world as a whole, not just local communities. Such discourses are the need of the hour to save the human race from hurtling to its doom by ignoring the obvious and glaring issues of ESG.’

—J.J. Irani, former Director, Tata Sons

‘The Age of Responsibility is upon us; and this book shows Indian businesses why and how they need to respond to the converging imperatives of the climate action and social justice in the world after COVID-19. This agenda goes far beyond CSR and speaks to the very purpose of the modern Indian corporation.’

Nick Robins, Professor in Practice—Sustainable Finance, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

‘The impact of COVID-19 has signalled not only a health crisis of severe proportions, but also a reflection on the broader trend of more planetary crises to emerge. This is a wake-up call for an imminent restructuring of the global economic order. It is time to incorporate the risks and threats of not only pandemics, but also climate change, waste management and biodiversity loss, and shift towards a green and circular economy. We must all adapt our value creation plans in the new business landscape and optimize performance against current and future key ESG issues to safeguard business operations and ensure long-term success.’

Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group, and former President, FICCI

About HarperCollins Publishers India 

HarperCollins Publishers India is a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers. HarperCollins India publishes some of the finest writers from the Indian Subcontinent and around the world, publishing approximately 200 new books every year, with a print and digital catalogue of more than 2,000 titles across 10 imprints. Its authors have won almost every major literary award including the Man Booker Prize, JCB Prize, DSC Prize, New India Foundation Award, Atta Galatta Prize, Shakti Bhatt Prize, Gourmand Cookbook Award, Publishing Next Award, Tata Literature Live Award, Gaja Capital Business Book Prize, BICW Award, Sushila Devi Award, Prabha Khaitan Woman’s Voice Award, Sahitya Akademi Award and the Crossword Book Award. HarperCollins India has been awarded the Publisher of the Year Award three times: at Publishing Next in 2015, and at Tata Literature Live! in 2016 and 2018. HarperCollins India also represents some of the finest publishers in the world including Egmont, Oneworld, Harvard University Press, Bonnier Zaffre, Usborne, Dover and Lonely Planet.

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