Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $4.99 shipping
+ $5.13 shipping
The Battle to Do Good: Inside McDonald's Sustainability Journey Hardcover – January 19, 2019
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"If you're interested in the changing consumer marketplace and how societal demands will directly impact how you run cattle at home on the ranch, this book is definitely a page turner worth reading. It's insightful, honest and really gives a glimpse at the changing dynamics of retailers, supplier and consumer relationships." -BEEF Magazine
"Bob is a terrific storyteller - and man, does he have stories: battling with Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; collaborating with Environmental Defense Fund and World Wildlife Fund; engaging Dr. Temple Grandin, the animal welfare guru; enlisting big suppliers like Smithfield and Cargill; convening the beef industry to define sustainable beef; and getting buy-in from an ever-changing cast of McDonald's executives... His remarkable story is not just a great read about an enviable career, but a hero's journey through the history of sustainable business and what it takes to be a leader, sometimes against the greatest of odds." -Joel Makower, GreenBiz
"If you want to read something that will leave you with a great deal to think about regarding something you thought you knew, namely what seemingly 'faceless companies' think and do behind the scenes, this is one for you. This is an inspiring story of one man and his noble intentions as well as plenty to learn and take away, regardless of what you do or if you aspire to own a business." -The National Student
"A 'sustainability page-turner' is not a description one often finds associated with books in the usually heavy-going world of corporate responsibility. In the case of The Battle to do Good: inside McDonald's sustainability journey, just published in hardback by Emerald Publishing, the marketing claim rings true." --Corporate Citizenship
"If you want to read something that will leave you with a great deal to think about regarding something you thought you knew, namely what seemingly 'faceless companies' think and do behind the scenes, this is one for you. This is an inspiring story of one man and his noble intentions as well as plenty to learn and take away, regardless of what you do or if you aspire to own a business." --The National Student
Langert, who led McDonald's corporate social responsibility and sustainability efforts for 25 years, describes the company's experiences with sustainability issues and various battles with activists related to these issues, including climate change, animal rights, obesity, sourcing practices, deforestation, waste, a sustainable supply chain, values, Happy Meal toys, pesticides, the Amazon rainforest, sustainable beef, and making a difference, to provide insight into what to do and not to do in times of crisis and when dealing with activists and advocates. --Annotation ©2019 Ringgold Inc. Portland, OR (protoview.com)
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.23 pounds
- Hardcover : 280 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1787568164
- ISBN-13 : 978-1787568167
- Dimensions : 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
- Publisher : Emerald Publishing Limited (January 19, 2019)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #649,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Bob Langert, who recently retired from leading McDonald’s CSR and sustainability efforts, was present at the birth of the CSR/sustainability movement. This book is his story. It is also the story of McDonald’s. And it is the story of all of the individuals, non-profits, and issues that influenced both Bob’s and “his company’s” CSR/sustainability journey. It details how CSR and sustainability transitioned from an unanticipated personal passion to a C-suite priority.
As Bob tells it, at the time of his first journey into the environmental field, “I was no environmentalist—not yet, anyway.” Instead, he was a rising star at a McDonald’s supplier that sold packaging to McDonald’s and his first environmental job was “to save the polystyrene clamshell.”
To anyone who remembers the late 1980s, the battle over how McDonald’s packaged its Big Mac was a watershed moment in the business and environmental communities. Environmental activists demonized the polystyrene container; McDonald’s reacted defensively; and the battle continued until McDonald’s formed a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund to jointly tackle the issue. It ultimately resulted in McDonald’s finding an alternative, more “environmentally preferable” way to protect its signature sandwich.
That initial sequence of events set the course for the rest of Bob’s professional career. How it affected him and how it affected McDonald’s form the basis for “The Battle to Do Good.”
Throughout the years the follow, Bob and McDonald’s tackled a host of issues: animal welfare, obesity, protecting the rainforest, worker rights, shareholder proposals and disingenuous non-profit groups who sometimes acted as if they are more interested in raising their own profile than in addressing the issues for which they advocate.
Each chapter in the book addresses one or more of these “battles,” but with each chapter you get a deeper understanding of how Bob’s perspective continued to grow. You also get peeks into how others within McDonald’s also gained deeper insights into important global issues and into McDonald’s role in tackling them.
A few quick examples:
• Engagements with non-profit organizations (NGOs) described in the book transition from a “war with activists” to opportunities to partner. They eventually evolve into a deeper understanding of how large companies can successfully determine when to engage with NGOs, which ones to engage with, and which issues, while important, cannot be effectively addressed by the company.
• Bob’s sincere efforts to understand “the other side” and learning to put his “mind, soul, and heart into the shoes of the social/environmental activist” to identify common goals. This transformation emerges in stories of trips to the rainforest with Green Peace, tours of slaughter houses with animal activists, and to picking tomatoes in the fields with migrant workers. These experiences clearly affect Bob’s perspective and they improve the questions he can ask inside McDonald’s about the company’s role in addressing specific issues. It is the foundation of his recipe for CSR and sustainability success: “Visit. See. Listen. Learn. And do it together.”
• There are also stories about McDonald’s tackling complex issues that others in the industry avoided and getting “punished for trying to do something good.” These events led to improved ways of selecting and setting CSR and sustainability goals and to better ways of communicating the goals and progress towards implementing them.
Bob also shares some of the battles within McDonald’s. Change is not easy inside of any large organization and the CSR and sustainability issues Bob grew passionate about are particularly challenging for any large company to address.
The “Battle to do Good” covers the challenges of dealing with “reactive management” and with the “stone cold silence” that greeted McDonald’s when they asked suppliers to make specific changes to the ways that the suppliers do business.
Bob does not pull punches. He talks about the challenges, including how some executives who were internal company allies on some issues were less supportive on other related issues when they directly affected their part of the business. He candidly admits, “The lines of authority and decision-making within McDonald’s are confusing…getting decisions made was the most frustrating part of my job.”
In one section of the book, he writes with both exasperation and reluctant understanding about how it took 10-years working with McDonald’s suppliers to get tomato pickers, who are not paid directly by McDonald’s, an extra penny per pound for tomatoes that they pick.
There are also plenty of important victories such as when McDonald’s agreed to switch fish suppliers to protect an endangered fishery. “When I heard this,” Bob wrote, “I was so proud of our company…McDonald’s took a stand and chose purpose over profit.”
It’s these moments – the combination of personal, professional, and corporate successes – that make “The Battle to Do Good” a must read for any executive, for any MBA student, and for every CSR and sustainability advocate that works inside or outside of the big companies pushing them to do better.
This work is not easy. It’s not quick. And it needs to be.
Bob’s experiences, his story-telling gift, and his insights can make it just a bit easier and quicker.
This book offers useful insights into those debates, while avoiding coming off merely as a victory lap touting problems solved. Rather, Langert uses storytelling to highlight improvements he helped his company make (such as paying tomato pickers more and improving farm animal welfare) while conceding areas where he wished they'd done better (like reducing paper use as well as in-restaurant food waste / paper collection for composting). Langert offers a candid glimpse into the internal debates McDonald's has had about these debates, naming who held which positions, and gives credit for sustainability advancements to many players at the company. He doesn't suggest that companies can achieve utopian goals nor that they should be the only players helping address societal problems, but he does offer a framework by which companies can strive for continuous improvement on sustainability.
It's a useful book both for companies wanting to improve their own responsibility record and for nonprofits seeking to help companies attain that goal. I was glad to read it.
Too often, sustainability is presented as a theory or as an ideal. But in the day-to-day, sustainability is more about practice and pushing for incremental (or transformative) progress. This book is packed with real life examples of sustainability/CSR/ESG issues and each chapter concludes with key future-oriented insights that will help anyone looking to craft their own sustainability initiatives.
This book is well-suited for leaders in companies working to "mainstream" sustainability as well as for activists who too often suffer from not knowing what it's like for the corporate people on the other side of the proverbial table. It's also great for students to learn about the inner workings of a company. Last, critics of McDonald's would benefit from reading this book to gain a better understanding of the challenges the company faces and that there's a different reality than the urban myths often create.
What I found interesting and refreshing about this book compared to other sustainability books is that Bob does a great job writing about the people behind the efforts. Sustainability is about influencing an organization without authority and Bob does a great service by writing about the various people he worked with from other functions inside McDonald's. His writing style really brings these individuals to life and you can get a feel for who these people are, what motivates them, and even their fun personality quirks.
Definitely worth getting.